It’s not always easy to find a balance when family life and work life are making demands. Here are some tips to help you juggle it all and take care of yourself too.
“It’s important to find the proper work-life balance.” Haven’t we all heard that? The reality is, however, it’s not always easy.
On the one hand, you can feel pressure at your job to get work done effectively and efficiently.
On the other hand, you may also feel pressure at home to make sure you are giving your child the attention and time he or she needs, as well as time for your spouse and all the chores – from laundry to dishes.
Remember, you need – and want — time for enjoying family and friends, and time for yourself too.
Trying to be all and do all is an impossible task. Setting realistic priorities and expectations, and then following through, will allow you to approach your day with more focus and confidence and allow you to be your best for both your family and your workplace.
It may seem impossible at times, but you can learn to juggle and find a balance in your life.
Being proactive means preparing for the inevitable and even for possible “surprises.” Plan ahead.
If you and your spouse work or you’re a single parent, you are going to need some childcare. Ask yourself:
- How much do I need?
- What can I afford?
- What are my values around childcare?
- What options do you have if your child is sick?
- If you have sick time at work, can you use it if your child is sick?
- Is there a trusted family member or neighbor who can care for your child if they are under the weather?
- You might also need some extra help if you come down with a cold!
Time at Work
- Does your job provide any flexibility so you can spend more time with your child and less on childcare? What about your spouse’s job?
- Are you breastfeeding? Remember to bring a pump to work if you need it or an extra shirt if you leak.
Time at Home
- Creating simple routines can help any task – from who’s in charge of getting dinner each night to how you put your child to sleep.
- Not only will routines help life run more smoothly, but your child will also benefit from understanding expectations.
- Routines are the perfect time for you to connect individually with each child every day. Make dinner, bath and bed a special time. And, having a routine can avoid needless time and negotiation about “what are we doing tonight?”
- Plan meals in advance.
- Do prep work, like cutting veggies, the night before.
- Use a slow cooker.
- Cook larger portions that work well as leftovers, like salads, chile, stews, and casseroles.
- Borrow a 30-minute easy-to-make meals cookbook from the library.
- Can’t get it all done? Start a load of wash even if you can’t get it all folded and put away today.
- Cut yourself some slack. Let dishes soak if there’s not time to wash them. Some chores can wait for the weekend.
- Divide chores with your spouse or partner. They may not get things done exactly how you would do them, but be grateful you are working as a team to get household chores done.
- Know a neighborhood teen looking for a little extra cash? If you can afford it, hire them to help some with laundry or yard work.
Be Here Now
When at work, be at work. When at home, be at home.
Sounds simple, but sometimes it’s not. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t look at work email at home. At work — don’t keep checking with childcare. If you are on call 24/7 for work and family, you will burn out and struggle with both.
The more you can focus on where you are and what you are doing, the more you will get done and the more you will enjoy wherever you are.
You and Your Relationships
Despite how busy you are managing work and homelife, nourish your adult relationships and take the time to nurture yourself. Find opportunities where you can or create some time!
- Thirty-minutes of cuddling while watching TV after your child has fallen asleep can be just the relaxing time you and your spouse need together.
- Say yes when grandparents want to spend time with the baby. Go out to dinner with your spouse or take a walk together.
- Your spouse can use some time alone with the baby to develop their individual relationship. While they do, hang out with a friend or read a book in the park on a sunny day.
- Need exercise? Can you walk or bike to work some days?
- Commuting to work by bus or car? Listen to your favorite music, an audiobook or podcast.
It’s Not 50/50
Being there for work and for family is not always evenly split into a nice neat 50/50 package.
Sometimes, you need to focus more on family. Maybe your child is having a hard time teething. Perhaps your partner is away with the National Guard or on business and your child needs extra attention.
Sometimes, a big project at work needs more attention than your usual work pattern.
Creating balance means being aware of changing circumstances in daily life. As your child grows and changes, family needs will also change over time.
The Right Balance
It may take a little practice, but you can find the balance that is right for you and your family.
Simple routines can simplify life. Focus on where you are and what you are doing. Despite many demands, you will be a better juggler by taking time with your partner and friends, and taking care of yourself. Changing circumstances may mean changing the work/family equation, but with practice, you will get better at balancing daily life and even those days with surprises!hat tips do other parents use to balance everything? Share this post on Facebook and check out parent comments about how they develop juggling skills.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.
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