How To Balance Work And Family
It’s a pure miracle how working moms balance work and family life.
Starting the day to prepare the kids, the dog, herself and running to her job like crazy, then – coming back, preparing lunch, doing home activities and maintain a good partner relationship – deserves a REALLY big APPLAUSE.
How do they make it work?
Well, here are few tips from working moms we have spoke to about work-life balance, and what works for them most of the time.
Tip 1: Don’t Feel Guilty About It
If you were a home staying mom for a while and decided it’s time to get back to work – don’t feel guilty about this decision.
Separation from kids will probably make you feel like you’ve abandon them, but look at the bright side of the story.
Your income will put some ease on your current family budget, and you’ll be able to offer your family more than you did before.
Of course there will be good and bad days, but you really need to accept the circumstances. Learning how to balance work and family was never and will be never an easy process.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this working mom journey.
If you have problem dealing with your guilt of leaving your kids, you can always turn to some support groups, or talk it over with your partner.
Mom blogs are good place to search for answers, as there are many interesting real-life topics discussed.
Tip 2: Consider Childcare Outsource
If you want to balance work and family life, you may consider outsourcing childcare.
You can ask your friends or family members for references of nannies, babysitters and prominent daycare centers.
Before using any of these, create a list of criteria that are important to you, and then schedule time to interview all qualified childcare providers, or to visit local daycare centers.
If you decide to hire a nanny, make sure to check her history of long-term commitments to families and their references as well.
You can easily establish if they have an excellent experience, and if they are adaptable to take care of newborns and older children as well.
It is also good if you organize a kind of “play-date” and see how your candidates interact with your kids in not so official surrounding.
A good childcare provider should always have extensive experience, excellent references and of course – a record to prove it.
When choosing a good daycare facility, make sure it has flexible hours, a low teacher-to-student ratio, plenty of outdoor space, updated childcare licenses, and of course – employees who have had their backgrounds checked thoroughly.
Tip 3: Start The Day With Easiness
In your efforts to balance work and family life, here’s another important and doable tip.
Start the morning easy and avoid the fuss about it by organizing everything a day ahead:
- pack the kids lunches
- choose and lay out their clothes for the next day
- have everyone shower
- don’t forget to prepare your own clothes
- decide what to make for breakfast
- repack the diaper bag, backpacks, purses or work bags
- place them by the door
- keep your keys at visual spot, so you can lock up on your way out
- In the evening (or any time suitable for you) look over the next day’s to-do list
It is preferable to unload your obligations by dividing the schedule. Determining which parent gets the kids dressed, fed, buys groceries and cook meals is important.
This is also a good time to discuss any changes to the family schedule so both parents can adjust accordingly.
Knowing that a lot of tasks for the “next day” are half completed will allow you to eat your breakfast with the kids without the usual rushing out of the house.
Tip 4: Calendar Of Family Priorities
Creating and organizing a family calendar is simply a MUST.
You can include important dates from the list of school obligations, family events, birthdays, dates when bills are due and other things to be done.
Or, you can become a hi-tech mom and use Google calendars.
They are very helpful, can be easily shared and synced on smartphones, and you can always face all scheduling challenges.
Try to find some free time (in between juggling obligations) every Sunday, and prepare for the upcoming week schedule eliminating unpredictable surprises.
Find the best spot to hang this organizing calendar so everyone can check up what’s next.
Tip 5: Have A Discussion With Your Employer
Before you do any talking, try to research whether other employees in your company have flexible arrangements.
This information can give you some advantage in preparing for the meeting, whether with an HR representative or your manager.
Every employer is different and you’ll sense how much to share and try to be as open as possible about your maternity or sick leave.
Despite all topics you want to discuss, you should also discuss the possibility to leave every day at 5 PM so you can get your kids from daycare.
Before meeting with your boss, decide which boundaries are non-negotiable and which are more flexible.
Set the tone to the meeting from the beginning of your conversation and try present few reasonable requests.
Human Resources and Work From Home Possibilities
Check with human resources to see if there are any flexibility options to work from home, and then share a written plan to your boss.
- details of the working schedule
- the outline of your work arrangement
- how your flexible schedule will benefit your employer
Always go to your boss with a solution instead of just a challenge, and also have in mind that it’s unlikely that you’ll be allowed to work from home every day.
Just try to find the right balance.
When Your Job Position Includes Traveling…
Work and travel can have a huge impact on family life, so be sure to set up limitations on travel if your job requires it and when discussing your job position.
When talking to your boss, make sure to map out any trips in advance(if possible), so you can make plans accordingly(whether to call your in-laws for some help or someone else fit to do it).
You’re the only one who knows what you need in order to balance your roles as a parent and a professional.
Don’t be ashamed to speak up.
Tip 6: Limit Distractions
If you want to achieve all your goals and tasks, you need to be disciplined.
You should set time limits when checking your emails or making phone calls. You can do all those things while the kids are sleeping.
Less TV is preferable if you want to maximize quality time with your partner during the evenings.
Also, you need to make an effort and avoid multitasking, so you can create more quality time with your children.
We know this can be difficult, but good organisation can really do wonders and half the work done.
Cut numerous email exchanges, Internet surfing, gossiping and long lunches with your colleagues. They all are distractions which will make you less productive.
Try to focus on your tasks and talk to coworkers during breaks or lunchtime ONLY.
Tip 7: Create Family Activities
Trying to balance work and family can be REALLY exhausting.
Still, making time for your kids is significant whether it’s during the week or the weekends. Nurturing family dynamic allows everyone to bond more.
When you create family activities, make sure they fit into your schedule and everyone knows what to expect.
Also, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs, so they can feel appreciated being a part of the plans.
And when the weekend is about to roll you can plan:
- a picnic in nearby park
- visit a fire station
- collect leaves and make a book of dried leaves (creating autumn memories)
- go to sports events
- go to a museum
- visit grandparents
- have a lunch (dinner) out
- build a flower or veggie garden
- play games (plan a treasure hunt)
- learn magic tricks
- cook their favorite meal together
- let them learn a new skill (pony horseback riding, or doing pottery)
- have backyard movie night etc.
Tip 8: Don’t Forget Your Partner
While struggling to balance work and family, don’t forget your partner either. Remember to always nurture your relationship with your partner and make sure is not neglected.
Have monthly date nights to rejuvenate your relationship bond, and to unload stress from juggling your kids needs all day long.
Oftentimes, when you’re busy at work and at home, your partner is neglected.
But, making efforts to refresh your relationship will bring back some lost excitement to the marriage and help you to “check more” with each other.
For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be quite expensive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t focus on yourselves.
You can always have an indoor date night, and cook your favorite meal together.
Even sitting together with a glass of wine and have random talking will bond you more ( just don’t talk about work or the kids).
Tip 9 : Create “Me Time”
Your efforts to balance work and family often results with neglecting yourself.
Try to avoid that trap – PLEASE!
Yes, it’s very difficult to even pay attention to yourself while doing all the work around home and in the office, trying to balance everything.
A refreshing break once in a while will help you recharge your batteries by taking care of your personal needs.
You can’t be an effective spouse or parent if you’re cranky all the time, so you better take time to care for yourself to feel more relaxed.
What can you do about yourself?
- take bubble baths
- set a spa date
- find time to exercise
- have a new hobby
- schedule an appointment for a facial
- schedule a hair appointment – change your looks
- get manicured
- dress up and go out
- do some “small talk” with your friends
- schedule sleep etc
Although for many this is “mission impossible”, make sure to have some “me time“.
It is a necessity so you can function as a normal human being, and not just like a robot handling home and work obligations simultaneously.
Remember to eat well and get enough rest, and do all those simple soul- nurturing things that even the smartest moms neglect.
Moms, love yourself!
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