As parents head back to work (virtual or in-person), they have a lot to plan for. These transitions call for scheduling (and often tight schedules), pre-planning work time, and prioritizing. It can be challenging to balance work, children, and life, and committing to one thing can make you neglect the other.
At work, you will have projects to complete within a given timeframe, a boss or employees holding you accountable, and potentially minimal breaks or extended ‘on-the-clock’ time. Given the number of shifts with the pandemic as well, this can put you under a lot of pressure.
Your children will want attention from you, too. They will want to be taken and picked up from school (if the school is in-person), spend quality time with you, and engage in some educational activities. They might also want to engage in outdoor activities over the weekend for some family bonding. It’s also not uncommon for kids to get into trouble at school and this might require your time or presence.
If you have a toddler, it can also be challenging to find the right nanny who can look after your child when you go to work. You may already be considering a daycare for toddlers to help you navigate the schedules.
As a parent, you have a lot on your plate, and unfortunately, neglecting your responsibility can lead to resentment from your children.
Many parents struggle to find a balance between their work, children, and life. To some extent, lack of an equilibrium can mess with your physical and mental wellbeing. At first, it can be challenging to juggle everything. But it is possible, and all you need to do is be realistic and prioritize what is vital.
Negotiate Flexible Hours With Your Boss
Negotiating flexible hours with your boss is a great way to balance work, children, and life. This may even be something you consider doing at the start of your employment! This can make it easy for your boss to outline what tasks to assign you that will not demand a lot of time.
If you are going back to a job after maternity leave, you can still negotiate for flexible hours. The trick is to emphasize what your boss stands to gain from adjusting your work hours. For instance, your boss will have a healthy worker when you find a balance between your job tasks and your personal life. This can reflect positively on your performance, as well as the overall productivity of the company.
To succeed in negotiating, make a plan and stick to it. Consider how you can balance your work, children, and life. If working from home is the best option, go for it. However, you should make sure that you can perform your work effectively at home as you would the office.
One tip to use when trying to be approved to work from home is to highlight how long it takes to commute and how you can use that time to work on various tasks. You can also suggest a trial period so that your boss and supervisor can see whether it will work in the long-term.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
Another comfortable way to balance work, children, and life is by having a plan and sticking to it. To plan, you need to have goals that will motivate you in achieving what you want. You should plan and schedule when to do something. If it is an assignment from your boss to do during the weekend, there’s no harm in sacrificing a few hours during the weekday to do it. This can allow you to have time for your family during the weekend.
A great way to plan is by having a calendar where you outline daily activities. Plan on what to cook throughout a busy week, and if possible, prep during the weekend to save time. Plan your work outfits to avoid wasting time in the morning. Planning can help keep you on track, save time and money.
When you have a lot on your plate, the best way to find the perfect balance between work, life, and children is by prioritizing tasks. This can mean starting with what is important and doing the rest later or delegating to someone else. For instance, you can face a dilemma on whether to use your extra time to look after your child or study a new, short course that might land you a promotion opportunity.
The best way to come up with a decision is by prioritizing what matters most.
You might also have to choose between attending a school meeting or being present during a project presentation at work, or attending an employee wellbeing seminar. All these tasks require your presence, energy, effort, and time. If you can delegate some tasks, it can help narrow down your activities to the most crucial ones. In the end, you will be able to juggle between your work, children, and life.
Make Time for Yourself
Don’t neglect your self-care! When you prioritize your mental and physical health, it can also help you find a balance. Having time for yourself is something you should do no matter how exhausted you feel. It can help you re-energize for other activities. It can also help you sustain and keep after your goals in the long-term.
Making time for yourself can mean waking up in the morning and going for a run or working out in a nearby gym. It can also mean going to the spa to get a message that will help relax your body. Don’t forget to eat healthily (and indulge every once in a while). Go for that movie date or watch one at home after putting the kids to sleep. Having time for yourself can help you take care of those you love and improve your job performance.
If you can make it a habit to plan and schedule your time and tasks, you can find the balance and peace you crave. Don’t forget to ask for help, too! You don’t have to do it alone!
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Featured Image Credit: Anastasia Shuraeva