Due to an exponential number of responsibilities that come with parental duties, working parents have a feeling of being constantly engaged in two full-time jobs. Luckily, as with any job, the more years we spend juggling our personal and professional lives, the more experienced and wise we turn out to be. Nonetheless, there is always more room for improvement!
It is never a walk in the park to balance a successful fulfilling career and to raise a happy family that doesn’t feel neglected by our inability to do both. Being in a profession of Project Management, I constantly stay engaged in leading and organizing multiple projects for various organizations. Being a working parent, I happen to find it practical to utilize some of the project management tools and techniques to balance my ever-so-hectic parental duties.
How to Balance Your Life as Working Parents
Here are some of my thoughts on what I try to focus on, as a working parent. Feel free to add on and share your own advice.
1. Keep Priorities Straight
Staying on top of things at all times is what the whole balance act is about, right? Once you get your organized guard down is when things start going wreak havoc. It helps to keep priority lists handy, along with numerous other lists and mental notes (that you should really write down! With age there is no such thing.)
2. Manage Time
‘If I had more time. . .’ this phrase is, definitely, on the tip of most working parents’ tongues. We constantly wish to squeeze more hours and minutes out of our hectic twenty-four hours. This magic trick is only possible with an acquired skill of efficient time management. Keep physical calendars at work and home, that way all the most crucial events are in front of you at all times. Set up daily reminders on your PC and mobile phones. Just remember to jive your children’s school and extracurricular schedules into all of your calendars. Missing out or being late for your child’s first school play is unacceptable!
Communication is the key: At work, at home, and everywhere in between! Keeping everyone on the same page is what will avoid any unnecessary confusions, stupid misunderstandings, and avoidable arguments. Moreover, proactive communication is about keeping your job safe and, most importantly, your children safe, happy, and attended to at all times.
4. Create a Reliable Support System
Whether you are a single parent or not, a trustworthy circle of support for your children is one of the most crucial points in your successful ability to balance both personal and professional lives.
Just remember, whenever you are not there, life does not stop without you. If you are to miss work, someone needs to cover for you because business is business as usual. Whenever you are not available for your kids, there need to be someone you could fully trust to attend to their needs. There is no shame in asking for a helping hand from your family and close friends; that’s what they are there for, right?
5. Find Your Center
As a working parent, juggling your many lives does not have to feel like an eternal suffering. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending battle but, for the most part, it is what our life is all about. So don’t let it slip by: Enjoy your morning commutes with a reflection of your child’s smiling face in a rear view mirror; make it a fun time checking his/her homework; don’t take for granted each one of their tiny little good night hugs and kisses!
At the end of the day, it’s more about the journey, not the destination.
If you have any advice on useful books, article, and online resources on how to successfully balance your life as a working parents, please feel free to share with us in the comments.
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Especially the communication part is very important.
You want to make sure that you keep everyone informed what you are doing or where you are going. This cuts down the confusion and misunderstandings (as you mentioned).
Also, if you are working at home, this is a great way to set expectations. For example, you might have your business that you run on the side and you want to have a certain time block for that activity every evening.
Telling others that you are working and cannot be interrupted sets certain expectations. This way they hopefully understand that for a certain time period, you don’t want to be interrupted.