Balancing Family Time and Career
Juggling is the perfect word to describe what we do as full time working parents with our responsibilities when it comes to the demands of our jobs and our family life. More often than not, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and meet everyone’s needs. Managing a career and family is not for everyone. For some parents, the stress level and guilty feelings of being out of the home are too much, while others seem to be able to balance parenting with full-time work with no problems at all. Parents who are able to raise well-adjusted children (as we hope we are doing) while also maintaining a career have to make sacrifices in order to keep the peace. Here are some examples of what many parents (including us) have to be flexible with in order to be successful at both work and at home.
Finding a healthy balance between careers and family rarely means the time is split equally. Successful parents understand that there will be times (more often than not) when their family will need more attention and times when a career will demand more energy. They don’t try to divide the time equally and fairly. Instead, they remain flexible. They evaluate their situation at the time and determine where they need to devote their attention on a regular basis.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Sometimes if things are extra crazy, parents forget or “don’t have time” to take a time out. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t have anything left to give. When you’re feeling overtired and stretched too thin, it may seem impossible or unimportant to squeeze in a little time for yourself. But, the fact is, those times when you feel like you can’t possibly spare a minute for yourself, are likely the times when you need it the most. Successful parents know that taking care of themselves is going to help their mindset when it comes to the spouse and the kids. There are multiple ways to get a little time for yourself you just have to DO IT! One thing my wife and I schedule monthly is a date night. Even though we do not have any family members around to watch the kids, we take advantage of our close friends, just for a couple hours, so we can have some hubby and wifey time. It’s a breath of fresh air, and some much needed grown up time for us.
Getting plenty of sleep and relaxing is high on the importance scale, but exercise may be even more important. Engaging in daily physical activity improves your mental as well as physical health. Take a walk, go to the gym, go for a bike ride, lock yourself in a room and turn on an exercise video. These are all healthy time outs that are necessary.
Spare Time...What is that?
Parents who achieve a successful work/family life balance don’t live and breathe to make their kids happy. Instead, they strive to raise responsible children that will grow to become responsible adults. They’re willing to ask kids to help out around the house. They assign chores and teach responsibility without nagging or yelling. They establish clear consequences and are consistent in following through with them. They role model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment (like in the real world).
Many parents would rather not work full-time, but for many families it just isn’t an option for one parent to stay home. For some, working part-time just isn’t financially possible. Parents who successfully balance their work and home life don’t waste time and energy on guilt over the fact that they’re working. Instead, they brainstorm a set of quality plans and contingency plans that meet there needs as a family as they accept that they need to keep full-time jobs while raising children. Parents who successfully balance parenting and work understand that making their children a priority means working hard to meet their family’s needs. The reality is, many parents have to work to pay the bills. However, it is possible for working parents to still be quality parents. Successful parents focus their spare time and energy on raising the children – not wishing they didn’t have to work.