At the start of the school year, families prepare, fill their schedules, and face the challenge of managing multiple commitments. Balancing work and family is a problem for almost any family, and finding the right balance can seem completely overwhelming. However, there are strategies that can help families cope.
Set priorities. With so many constraints on our time, it’s hard to be everything for everyone. There are a number of roles and goals that you can juggle in your life. You want to be successful at work, enjoy a healthy relationship, be an involved parent. You may aim to continue your education, maintain a home, contribute to your community, get on a fitness regime, save for early retirement. Also, you can juggle extended family issues like caring for aging parents or dealing with illness in the family. All of these things take your time and energy and often clash with each other. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, you may need to think about your values and set priorities based on those values. For example, if “being an involved parent” is a priority for you, setting aside time each night to play with your children might take priority over those overtime hours in order to fund a bigger house.
Plan and do things in advance. Work weeks are when most of us tend to be the busiest. By preparing for Monday’s arrival, you can ease the stress of the week ahead. Keep a family calendar posted on the refrigerator. On Sundays, see what’s available for the week and plan how you’re going to run the week. When you can, prepare your meals on weekends and put them in the fridge or freezer to heat them up quickly on a busy evening. It can be an activity where you can involve and get help from your older children. Before you go shopping, get out your cookbooks and make a list of several meals for the next week and make your grocery list from your menu list. After work, stress is often more about deciding what to cook for dinner than about making it. If you are going home for lunch, do some meal prep to cut down on meal prep time after work.
Negotiate flexible hours or part-time hours if possible. Flexibility in your professional life can bring incredible stress relief to a home. If this is financially feasible, consider the possibility of working part-time. It can mean less financial freedom, but it can bring better daily rewards and a better quality of life. Again, you need to consider your values and set your priorities. If possible, negotiate flexible hours or job sharing with your employer that would be more conducive to your family life.
Find a number two and a number three person. In the workplace and at home, you need to create awesome supports. With the increased mobility of society, not all families benefit from extended family support. If you don’t have a family available in town, seek help from coworkers, friends and neighbors. Line up a few coworkers your kids can call to answer their questions or in situations where you aren’t available.
Share with other families. Share your problems with your neighbors and friends who face the same balance between work and home. You will not only benefit from the mutual support, but also be able to share ideas on how you manage your busy schedules. Seek to share responsibilities with other parents. Take turns taking the kids to school, taking the kids to their outdoor activities, babysitting each other
Limit activities after work and after school. While parents have good intentions and want to provide their children with a variety of skills, parents can be trapped in the limitless possibilities available to children and thus can create very busy schedules for their children and themselves. Limit the number of outdoor activities your children participate in one activity at a time. Instead, do family things like skating or a bike ride. Plus, limit your own activities after work. You don’t need to sit on the church committee, coach your kid’s soccer team, and volunteer for your favorite charity. It is wonderful and rewarding to contribute to your community, but you may not be able to do everything given your situation. Again, look at your values and set your priorities. Think about what you can handle now and what you might be able to do at a later stage in your life. Learn to say “no” and let go of the guilt.
Incorporate rituals into your life. Schedule time to make sure family time passes. Host a family movie or game night. Spend some quality time with you family.
Take time for yourself. Taking time for yourself must be a priority. This is something you should do no matter how tired you are. Drag yourself to the door of your fitness class, after which you’ll be in a better mood and happy that you did something for yourself. Have your favorite show per week and protect it. After you put the kids to bed, make this bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch your weekly drama. Get out of the office during lunch, go for a walk, and feel the sun on your face.If you want to deal with stress and your loved ones take care of yourself.
Make room for a couple’s time. In the work / home hustle and bustle, it is easy for two people, while living in the same household, to separate. Just as it is important to spend time interacting with your children, it is important to spend time interacting with your partner. Make time for each other. On Friday night, book a babysitter whether you have plans or not. Even if it’s only for an hour that you can get away from it all and walk around together.
Share your work experience with your children. Through your words and actions, your children should know that they are a priority in your life, but it also helps to let them know that your work is important to you too. Talk to your kids about what you do at work and take them with you to see where you work. Children are more likely to meet the demands of your job when you share this part of your life with them.
Find time to have fun. Keep in mind that the job is only part of you. We only come once, so it’s important to enjoy your life and take time to have fun. Look for opportunities to enjoy life at home and at work. Find the humor in things. To laugh.
Be there for the moments. There will be special moments in the life of your children which may happen before 5:00 pm – a football game, a school concert, a speech. Most employers, managers, clients also have families and understand these family situations. Talk to your boss, explain your need to be there, have a plan in place for how he can handle your absence, or you can get the job done in another way or at a different time. Maybe you can work with a coworker and spell yourself out for those important family events.