Juggling the seemingly impossible work-life balance of a parent.
Being a parent is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. You’ll work endless hours and probably won’t get many breaks, no matter how old your kids are. But, many parents also want to continue their careers while taking care of their children. Unfortunately, that can lead to challenges like having to find childcare during the day and making sure your kids are taken care of when you’re not there.
The real challenge, however, is often finding a healthy work-life balance. When you’re working 8+ hours a day and come home to take care of your kids, it can feel like you’re not giving them the time or attention they need before they have to go to bed.
You might also feel like you don’t have much of a “life” outside of work and parenting. Self-care is incredibly important for parents, and that can require some juggling and prioritizing.
Let’s take a look at how you can strike a healthy work-life balance as a parent, including how you can give your best to your children while taking care of your own physical and mental well-being.
Make your work life work for you?
Working away from home, even for a few hours a day, can pose several challenges to you and your kids. First, studies have shown that working away from home for extended periods of time can exacerbate certain health conditions, including obesity and depression. Other areas of life that can be affected by long hours spent away from home include work performance, risk of accidents, time spent with family and overall quality of life.
You might not be able to change your job location or hours, but it’s worth it to talk to your employer about having greater flexibility or even about working remotely. You could also ask them to delegate tasks appropriately within the workspace so you’re not left with a pile of extra work that other people could (and should) be doing.
Taking care of yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. While you might think all of your focus should be on your job and kids if you don’t practice self-care, you’ll end up burning out quickly, and you won’t be the employee or parent you truly want to be.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a necessity that will help you from feeling totally overwhelmed by everything you have to do. It looks different for everyone and doesn’t need to take up a lot of time each day. You can incorporate self-care activities into your normal routine, and it won’t take long for them to become habits. Try things like:
- Cooking healthy meals;
- Prioritizing sleep;
- Practicing mindfulness;
Even if you’re only able to practice self-care for a few minutes each day, it will make a big difference in how you feel and help you to be more present and focused both and work and when you’re spending time with your family.
Getting the family involved
Speaking of family time, it’s crucial to make the most of the time you do have with your little ones. If you feel like you don’t have a lot of time to do that, there are a few tips that can help.
It’s not uncommon for babies to only want their moms when they’re away. Separation anxiety can happen because your baby recognizes that you are a source of both comfort and safety. This is why it is important to increase your child’s bond with their other parent or caregiver so that your baby knows they can receive love and support from other people as well.
One way to do this is to ensure that you and other caregivers participate in activities together. That could include something as simple as a walk around the neighborhood each night. Or, you can incorporate activities into things you’re already doing. You have to make dinner, right? Why not get your kids to help with age-appropriate tasks? Spending time in the kitchen together is a great way to connect and can teach them valuable life skills.
You can also start new hobbies together to boost your bond and strike a healthy balance. Things like gardening, spending more time outside, arts and crafts, or reading and writing are all fantastic ways to be involved with your kids while doing something productive. You might even learn more about yourself while helping to foster your children’s natural passions.
Being a parent isn’t easy. Being a parent with a full-time job is even harder. But, it’s not impossible to strike a healthy work-life balance and make the most of your career and your time at home if you’re willing to prioritize and implement a few helpful changes.