Tips for Finding Work/Life Balance
Being a parent isn’t easy, no matter if your children are very young or they’re young adults. Many parents struggle to find a balance between work and family. Parents wonder if they should take more vacation days, if they should be a stay-at-home-parent, or if they should take on a job that involves a great deal of traveling. When it comes to parenting, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. You’ll likely get a different opinion from every person you ask. So how do you figure out the right way to balance work and family life? The answer to the question is unique to you and your family's needs.
Here are some tips help you decide what is best for your family:
Connect with other parents –
When facing any challenge, it’s beneficial to have a support system. You don’t have to deal with difficulties on your own. Connect with other parents, whether it’s friends who are in a similar situation, a support group, or a Facebook group that helps parents connect with one another. By talking to other parents, you can share experiences, bounce ideas off with each other, gain advice, and support one another through obstacles. Other parents can become your greatest resources; there’s so much to learn from other people’s experiences.
Envision your ideal situation –
Ask yourself, “What would work best for our family? What would that situation look like?” Would it involve being home every day by 4:00 to help with homework, or hiring a tutor and joining the family for dinner? Consider your problem areas and the options available to address them. Even if finances are a determining factor, there are usually ways to cut costs and work around it. For example, if you’re looking for childcare, day care, nanny shares, or asking immediate family for help are affordable options for caring for young children. There is no wrong way to go about this. It’s most important to do whatever feels comfortable for your family. The goal is to create a situation that relieves stress for everyone.
Set and communicate boundaries –
Setting boundaries is how we communicate what is and is not okay in our relationships. Just like how you would communicate boundaries with a friend or loved one, you should do the same with your work and family life. Set boundaries with yourself and your work life to avoid feeling exhausted or overwhelmed during family time. Don’t let work emails or deadlines distract you from what’s important outside of the office. Instead, let your co-workers or boss know when you won’t be accessible—if you’re going on vacation or a beach trip, for example. If you speak up, they will be more likely to respect your boundaries.
Keep an open dialogue with your partner –
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your relationship is to make sure you‘re communicating with your partner. Let your partner know what you need, and keep an open dialogue about any changes or struggles you’re experiencing. As you maintain the conversation, you’ll feel united and will work as a team to navigate the challenges of parenthood.
Parenthood is an incredible and fulfilling experience. However, the job of being a parent, in addition to your career, can understandably create stress. The key to managing life’s demands is to find balance between work and family life. By following these guidelines, you can find that balance and create a healthy support system for yourself and your family.