Here at Acloché we understand that a large portion of our workforce aren’t only just our associates but that they’re also parents. It can be difficult to navigate the challenges and obstacles that arise while being a working parent and we wanted to offer some advice to help you along.
There isn’t one method out there that will automatically set up the perfect work/life balance but we hope these ten strategies will help make your day to day transitions from work life to home life a little smoother.
Leave Work at Work
When you’re excited about your career, it’s easy to want to take that call after hours or dwell on things you should’ve/could’ve accomplished during the day. It’s important to turn off the work-switch and enjoy the time you can spend with your family, friends, or non-work related interests. In the long run, this will foster a better relationship between you and your career.
Divide Parenting Duties
When possible, it’s important to make sure each person involved in your child’s life knows their responsibilities. If each parent has defined duties, it will help lighten the load of work to do when coming home. For example, one parent can do bath time and one does the bedtime routine. Take turns, switch it up, but the important thing is to have a plan!
Share your Personal Calendar
Alongside dividing responsibilities is to make you’re sharing what each other’s upcoming schedule looks like with your partner. Keeping each parent in the know of which days there will be extra hours at work or when there will be an out of the ordinary appointment will keep everyone on the same page—no surprises! This will help each parent be prepared and ready to take on the extra work when needed.
Make a Baby-Sitter Roster
One of the biggest challenges of being a working parent is having reliable child care while you’re unavailable. If you map everything out ahead of time, you can have a back-up plan in case of conflicts arising with your regular child-care provider. One way to prepare for that situation is to make a roster ahead of time of available babysitters that can come on short notice. Then, if an emergency arises, you can start reaching out to those on the list to replace your normal child care provider for the day.
Create a Family Calendar
Use this calendar to map out each parent’s home responsibilities and exterior responsibilities, to make sure you’re each splitting your time equally and dedicating enough energy to your household and your children. This will help each parent know exactly what the other has going on.
It’s important while working and maintaining a family to establish your boundaries and prioritize tasks. By maintaining a strict prioritized schedule it will keep your boundaries clear. Decide how much voluntary work you will do outside of your normal work hours, if any at all, and stick to those boundaries you set. Be open with your employer and set expectations that everyone is comfortable with.
Set Up a Daily or Weekly Sacred Time
While consistently maintaining your boundaries with regards to your career can be difficult, it can help to dedicate a specific chunk of time into your regular routine where your sole task is to spend quality time with just your kids. Whether this catching up while driving them to school, playing before dinner, or a trip to the park, make sure it’s a standard part of your routine that your kids can rely on and look forward to.
Schedule in Advance
Making your child’s appointments and adding their extra activities that you will be attending to your work calendar far in advance is beneficial to both you and your employer. This keeps an open line of communication about what you will be needing and gives them plenty of advanced notice of when they will possibly need coverage for you. The further in advance the better, as this shows respect for your employer’s time and gives you plenty of time to prioritize your work deadlines around those outside-of-work events.
Keeping Open Communication
Maintaining open lines of communication with your employer will keep everything above board and can limit any confusion regarding your duties as a parent. Keeping your employer in the loop is essential, especially as a parent, as your employer is going to feel more respected and it will benefit your overall relationship. While the employer/employee relationship is important, it’s also important to keep open communication with whoever is involved in your child’s life. This could mean other parents, your children’s teachers, and anyone else involved with childcare.
Make the Most Out of Your Time
A huge part of navigating the tricky waters of being a working parent is making sure that you’re optimizing your time as best as you can. One strategy is squeezing in as many of the little tasks that you have to do in your gaps of downtime. For example, if it’s important to you to get a reasonable amount of physical activity in during your day but you don’t get a chance to after work while you’re with your family, see if you can fit in a long walk during your lunch break at work. You don’t want to feel burnt out from not doing something that is a priority to you, so you can utilize that fifteen minutes from your lunch where you aren’t doing anything and use that to take a brisk walk around your building or outside.
Family is the number one priority for a lot of our associates. We understand how important your duties as a parent are, and we hope that these tips will help ease stress related to being a parent in the workforce.