Having a career and raising children is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Some days it can feel like an uphill battle just to get the menial day to day things done. A study done in 2018 found that over 60% of U.S. households have two parents working with kids under the age of 18. So, if you are in this situation, you are not alone! Working parents truly are amazing as they demonstrate how to juggle a career while fulfilling a role as a parent. Your days are filled with meetings, projects, deadlines, pressure to succeed and as if that is not enough you are tasked with a day filled with homework, doctor visits, driving to day care, attending kids sporting events, disciplining, teaching moments, cooking, cleaning and the list goes on and on. For many parents it can be overwhelming to find a balance between their job and their personal lives. While this can be challenging, it’s not impossible by any means. Here are some tips that might help if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the balancing act.
Find Your Purpose
In today’s fast-paced, technology-filled world where we are being pulled in many directions all at the same time, finding the purpose of life seems more important than ever. If being a parent and having a career is important to you, embrace it. It is possible to successfully do both! If you are working out of necessity to help provide for the family, embrace it! Your little ones are depending on you to provide for them. Keeping things in balance is a little easier when you embrace your situation and understand the “why”.
Do you feel like a chicken with its head cut off or do you have so much to do that you aren’t sure where to start? Keeping a list of things that need to get done is a great way to help you focus and ensure the most important things get done first. Start small, taking just a few minutes each day to write down a list of tasks will help you structure your day and prioritize what needs to be done and which things can wait until later. Not only will you find this helps you focus but it can be very rewarding to mark those “to-do’s” off at the end of the day. If life happens (as it usually does) and the day doesn’t go as planned, be gentle with yourself. Take a deep breath and know that there is always tomorrow. Click here to see a list of several easy to use task management apps you can use on your phone.
One of the biggest worries as a working parent is whether or not you are spending enough time with your kids. The trick is to make every minute count! For example, if you need to cook dinner have your kids help. Some of my fondest memories are being in the kitchen with my mom, sitting on the counter while she let me “be the chef.” Day to day tasks can be a great opportunity to spend time with your kids. On the drive to or from school, take time to ask them questions, more than just “how was your day?” If you ask what their favorite part of the day was, you’re more likely to get a more enthusiastic response. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily duties or work obligations that it is easy to miss these opportunities to connect. So during these moments when you are talking to your child, be sure to listen, make them feel heard! Try your best not to zone out or get distracted. This will help you to be more understanding and help you to better provide for their needs.
Don’t Forget Personal Self Care
As a parent you love and care for your children but it’s important to also do the same for yourself. For many of us our natural instinct is to want to spend most of our time outside of work with our family and make sure all their wants and needs are taken care of. But if you aren’t taking time for yourself, there isn’t a chance for you to unwind and get ready to take on the next task. Remember to sneak in a little you time and going to the grocery store alone doesn’t count! It should be something you really enjoy or want to do. Whether it’s going out for an evening with your spouse, taking an hour to work on a hobby you love, or reading a book while someone else takes the kids for a few hours. It isn’t so much about “what” you do but rather that it’s something that you enjoy and you’ll be surprised at how much it rejuvenates you!
Don’t Sacrifice Zzzz’s
Picture this, you finally get the kids to bed and you’re taking a minute to relax. What happens next? Are you thinking about the next things on your to do list? Is there that project at work that is stressing you out? Or maybe you are just enjoying the opportunity to relax and watch a show on TV. Though it’s tempting to use the time to check off a few more to-do’s or stay up late to finish your show, getting sleep is critical! When you’re tired it’s much easier to mentally check out as you go about your daily routine, you’re liable to be more moody, and much more likely to be stressed about things you usually have no problem taking care of. Get your Zzzz’s you will be glad you did when you wake up.
Some days may seem hard, maybe even impossible but in the end it is all about finding a balance that works best for you and your family. Having a career and being a parent is challenging, but it is possible! Just remember, prioritize, be present, and take care of yourself. You got this!!!