Work-life balance is a far-fetched dream for many parents. According to the Segmanta’s Moms in Asia 2020 study, one-third of Asian moms mention balancing career and life as a shared obstacle of parenthood (1). Between work, meals, emails, and caretaking, juggling the demands in the office and at home can feel like an extreme sport.
However, working professionals deserve to be good parents too. Luckily, many organizations today are beginning to implement flexible work policies. Beyond that, all you super parents are just as capable to craft yourselves a work-life routine that’s both sustainable and burnout-proof. Let’s explore some tips below.
Six Ways To Achieve Work-Life Balance As A Parent
From paying the bills to managing after-school activities. All on top of meeting KPIs at work. Working parents undeniably have their plates full 24/7. And while there is no “perfect way” to achieve work-life balance, here are some tips you can leverage to keep the peace at home and work.
1. Seek support
It’s important to recognize that there are limits to your time and energy. And being a working parent is equivalent to having two full-time jobs. That’s why when things get overwhelming, seeking support can be the biggest sigh of relief.
For example, you may arrange a schedule with your spouse for driving your kids to school. Or you could enlist the help of another relative to watch the kids for a short while. It’s perfectly acceptable to lean on others for support. This ensures your kids are being cared for, and you’re able to stay focused at work.
2. Stay flexible
Work-life balance doesn’t mean that you have to always split your time at home and work equally. Understand and accept that there will be times when your family needs more attention. And other times, work may take the front stage. The trick is to not sweat the small stuff and what you can’t control.
At any given moment, evaluate what needs more attention and what needs to take a backseat. Then, readjust your schedule and inform those around you of your priorities and capacity.
3. Squeeze in self-care
Airlines mandate that in the event of an emergency you should put your oxygen mask on before assisting anyone else - including your children. That’s because if you don’t save yourself first, you won’t be able to save anyone else.
Hence, self-care is essential for working parents if you want to maintain productive at work and nurturing at home. At the bare minimum, allocate time for sleep, basic nutrition, and light exercise. Even though you feel like you can’t possibly spare any time for yourself, taking a short breather in between tasks does wonders for your wellbeing.
4. Set your master schedule
Pick a time each week to draft out a bird’s eye view of both your home and work responsibilities. This includes your family priorities and your employer’s expectations. Do you have a late meeting this Tuesday? Is the parent-teacher conference happening this Friday morning?
Map out a plan that realistically accommodates your goals as a working parent. Delegate or eliminate tasks as necessary. By setting this master schedule, you avoid being caught off guard by overlapping commitments.
5. Set limits around technology
Remote work has become increasingly common and has benefits for work-life balance. But somehow, a recent study shows that an average working day at home is 48.5 minutes longer (2).
The temptation to check “just one more email” during dinnertime can be irresistible. That’s why tech-free zones are crucial when the boundaries between work and life are so blurred. To start, get everyone to switch off notifications during designated family hours to minimize distractions.
6. Stay present
As a busy parent juggling between work and family, it’s easy to resort to multitasking or frantically switching between tasks. As a result, we show up halfheartedly both in the office and at home.
It sounds counterintuitive. But the goal is to be fully present in every aspect of your life. To achieve this is to have a routine when you switch to family activities and when you switch to work mode.
Simple strategies include putting your computer away after 6 PM. And perhaps before work, you ensure your kids are actively engaged to reduce interruptions when you’re in work mode.
Perfecting your responsibilities as a working parent is somewhat of an elusive goal. And somedays, it can feel like we’re burning the candle at both ends. That’s why, as individuals and couples, strategic planning, compromise, and self-compassion, are essential to building a more integrated and less stressful life.
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