Being a parent is hard. Being a parent with a full-time job is harder. According to UNESCO, a whopping 1.37 billion kids are at home due to the school closures in this pandemic. This means parents now have to entertain and home school their kids while working from home. This is the reality many families now face, and it can be challenging. Even though this means you get to spend quality time with your little ones, it will take a blend of planning, communication and technology for you to sail through these hard times. If you feel like you are literally juggling work and parenting, we have 6 tips for you that can ease these stresses of balancing the two –
1. PLANNING IS KEY
You always have to expect the unexpected when you have your little ones in your life. Planning can go a long way in helping you stay on top of your daily tasks. Prep lunches, set out clothes and have study material arranged – all the previous night. Prepare for Monday’s arrival over the weekend and divide chores between your partner and yourself. This will ensure neither of you feels drained out. You can also ask your little ones to help you in little ways and reward them with stickers or a small treat. Work out a schedule with your partner and communicate the same to your team at work. This way, your colleagues will be in a better position to support you, because they now know your availability.
2. CREATE A WORKSPACE
Research shows that having a physical boundary between work and personal life reduces the amount of stress an employee goes through. Setting up your own little home office will allow you to play the role of an employee without any inconvenience. Invest in an ergonomic desk and chair, so your body isn’t under stress.
Of course, completely cutting out of sight is never a good idea when you have younger kids around. You can always use a symbolic boundary, such as a bookshelf or a room divider so you can still keep an eye on them. Use the reminders on your phone when it is time to spend a couple of minutes with your children. Making a note of your pending work tasks will allow you to resume working smoothly once you’re back.
3. TAKE TIME TO UNWIND
You have everything if you have good health. Let go of the guilt and be kind to yourself. You may make mistakes and miss targets. But this is no reason to beat yourself up. Remember that you are in a new world and it will take time to adjust. Allot time to read your favourite book or settle down on the couch after you tuck your kids into bed. Get some fresh air every morning and make it a point to exercise, even if it is a quick 10-minute workout.
Be patient. Remember, you’ll be able to manage your work better and be a better parent only if you look after yourself first. If you’re looking for simple ways to unwind, here is a blog piece that you might find useful.
4. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR EMPLOYER
If you’re a new mum or dad and you have a full-time job, you know how stressful it can get. This is the perfect time to have a chat with your employer. If it is financially feasible, consider working part-time. It will definitely mean lesser financial freedom but will bring you closer to your little ones in the earlier years of their life. Evaluate your priorities and values. If being a full-time employee suits your lifestyle, go for it. If possible, negotiate with your employer for flexible hours so that you can do justice to both these important aspects of your life.
5. MAKE TIME TO DO FUN THINGS TOGETHER
Nurturing your family dynamic is very important. Making time for your kids during the week and weekends will allow you to strengthen this bond. If you’re a working parent and are pressed for time during the week, make sure you at least try to have one meal a day with your kids or watch their favourite cartoons with them.
These activities don’t take long and can easily fit into your tight schedule. Weekend family outings are great, as long as you’re not talking about work or constantly checking emails. Your kids love you, and it doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you do it together.
6. DO NOT SEEK PERFECTION
You may be a perfectionist at work, but family life is entirely different. Sometimes doing less is good enough. Remember that you don’t have to strive to be the ‘perfect parent’. No one is, and you need to be gracious enough to accept that. It is okay if your house is a mess and you don’t have the energy to clean it. You can always do it tomorrow. It is essential to prioritise and use your energy to finish the critical tasks at work and home. Do the rest when you have the time.
Take time to focus on happy thoughts. There will always be ups and downs. When you feel like you aren’t able to spend time with your little ones, think of how your employment is benefitting the family. Keep in mind to refrain from comparing yourself to other families. No two families are alike, and they don’t function exactly the way you do.
Balancing a career and a personal life can often seem like an impossible goal, especially if you’re a parent that’s working remotely. Here are our tips on how to achieve a healthy work-life balance.