Anything good in life comes at the result of great balance. Finding stability on the tipping scale between family and career, however, isn’t always the easiest thing to execute seamlessly.
For today’s modern mom, having a successful and flourishing career is just as important as having a solid family front. But as many mothers (and fathers) can attest, there’s always a give and take. No one wants to feel like a failed parent, nor does anyone particularly want a mediocre career.
But that doesn’t mean having balance is an unattainable feat.
There are very practical steps working parents can take to ensure that they get the best of both worlds, so to speak. It all comes down to prioritizing, strong planning and execution and, most of all, being realistic. Here are some great tips to help steer you in the right direction.
Don't Feel Guilty
The first thing parents should do is eliminate the guilt trip. Oftentimes, parents - especially new ones - find themselves feeling guilty for being a working professional. You don’t get to see them as often and you sometimes miss the important stuff like (if they’re a toddler) their first words, recitals and sports game. You also may not be able to be as hands on as you’d like with things like their homework. Give yourself permission to fail. You won’t be the perfect parent, the same way in which no one is the perfect human being. What’s important to keep in mind is that your presence in the workspace isn’t some selfish undertaking; you’re working hard to provide for your family and to ensure that your children’s needs are met financially.
Good Child Care
When you are unable to care for your child, it’s imperative that you find good child care. Who you allow to look after and help nurture your children is crucial. You want to be sure that whoever caring after your child is someone you trust and believe will essentially act as the ideal stand-in parent. You don’t want to feel like they’re taking your place, however. They’re simply assisting for the win.
From a more practical standpoint, planning ahead will always work to your advantage. For school-aged children, healthy habits to adopt would be to pack their lunch, lay out their clothes, etc. the night before. This eliminates the possibility of you being frazzled in the morning and allows you more free time to interact with your children without feeling like running a marathon. Another great thing to incorporate into your home is a family calendar, where you would organize the family’s priorities, including events and activities both inside and outside of school. You may even want to use Google calendar so that you’re able to easily share and sync calendars on your smartphone (this is especially useful for two-parent households).
Be More Proactive At Work
As for work, be sure to communicate well with your employer or manager. If you know that you need a more flexible schedule, write a letter detailing what you need. Some employers are willing to work with you. Also, try to stay connected with your family when you can. Periodic phone calls, texting and video chatting go along way. Just because you can’t be with your family 24/7, it doesn’t mean you can’t still be connected.
Find what works for you and tailor your schedule and priorities accordingly, but most of all, always remember that balancing family and career is achievable. It just comes down to your dedication to make it all work.
(Photo: Diane Diederich/Getty Images)