Parent Work-Life Balance Can Be Achieved
Parents of all ages are in search of that perfect work-life balance. A utopia where juggling your career with your home life to achieve happiness. But where do we begin?
It is a good idea to start by asking yourself what YOU require. Not what an employer wants, or a friend has. WHAT. DO. I. NEED. TO MAKE. THIS. HAPPEN?
Put In A Flexible Working Request To Improve Your Parent Work-Life Balance
During the midst of parenting, you often realise that your kids will not be young forever. There will come a time where they will pick their friends over you. And this can be tough to deal with as a parent. For you, it may be important to be around more than you currently find yourself, because in the blink of an eye they will be off backpacking around the world. Tell yourself what would work perfectly for you and your family. Maybe you wish to do the school-runs in the morning so your partner can get to work earlier. Or maybe you want to be at home earlier in order to eat as a family and put your children to bed. Lay the foundations by meeting with your employer to discuss what could be supported for you to achieve a more healthy work-life balance as a parent. You have a legal working right to request flexible working. And they are legally obliged to listen to this request. Maybe see whether you can start or finish earlier; how about working from home so you can pick them up from nursery, pre-school or school? Other options include condensed working hours, part-time working or just an employer’s ability to remain flexible to your needs.
Create A ‘Date Jar’ With Your Partner
You are still a couple and love one another. You are both the reason your kid(s) are here. The partnership should not stop just because you are now parents. Yes, things will change, but instead, think of your relationship as evolving, and as such work-life balance needs to be adjusted accordingly. A good idea is to think of past dates you have been on together and future ones you would like to try out. Write them down without the other partner seeing and pop them in a jar. Then once every month or 2 — or whenever you see fit, pick one from the jar and make it happen. Little or big. You both deserve it. If you are lucky enough to have a good support network around you, do not feel guilty about asking for a babysitter. Everyone will benefit — both parents get to spend some quality time together; your kids are looked after by somebody you trust, and friends or family get the joy of bonding with your children. If you are struggling for a babysitter or are a single parent, there are specialist childcare agencies who appoint ad-hoc babysitters for you.
Make Time For Yourself To Achieve a Parent Work-Life Balance
Ok, maybe not straight after the birth. Ignore the first couple months. They are a washout. But don’t let this become the norm. It will be easy and unwise to just carry on neglecting yourself as a human. Your well-being is directly linked to the well-being of your kids. Making time exclusively for yourself is one of the best things you can do in this pursuit of a work-life balance. It is not selfish to think of yourself every so often, remember you are more than just a parent. Re-connect with friends for a catch-up, read that sci-fi book you keep meaning to read; write a poem. Anything you used to enjoy pre-parenthood, see whether you can dedicate a little time for this per week or month.
Create Realistic Expectations On Yourself And Your Family
Things may not go according to plan at times. Life happens. Your house resembles a tip. The bathroom was not cleaned because the food shop arrived late. You forgot to wash the school uniform. The eldest refuses to put their shoes on at the 36th time of asking. You get the picture. Accepting that when it comes to parenting, it can get extremely overwhelming and chaotic. It is a good idea therefore to slightly adjust your mindset. Set small realistic goals for the day/week or month knowing that these will be achieved. And if they are not, relax, go and make yourself a coffee. If the washing up has not been done. Don’t fret. Do it when the kids are in bed. Ignore the mess. Create more if you like. Attacking the chaos and pandemonium with a relaxed attitude may stand you in good stead at realising that things are going just fine. And you are doing a really good job.
If you enjoyed this article, please read our article on work-life balance from a mother’s perspective: Can you really have a work/life balance as a parent?