Being a working parent is hard. Really hard. Being a single working parent like myself brings an extra set of challenges to the table. Making that decision to go back to work after having a child, whether it be your first or your 3 isn’t an easy one is it. Finding the right balance can be tough.
I mean, once you have sorted out all the technical aspects, days, hours, shift pattern, nurseries, and/or other childcare and so on, you then have to contend with that overwhelming guilt. The guilt of leaving them to persue a career or just to make sure you have money to pay the bills and put food on the table.
Children don’t come cheap at all. I have spent pretty much my whole parenting life in work. I have flitted from job to job (!). I’ve worked a whole range of hours from 16 to near on 50 in my quest to find a balance and income that works best for myself and Olivia.
If you are, are trying to, or are thinking about going back to work, here are 5 tips for finding the right balance for your home and work life.
Work Life and Home Life: Finding the Right Balance
Request flexible hours
Getting into the swing of things is not an easy task, so organising yourself appropriately between work and home is very important. An easy way to do that is simply asking your boss for flexible hours. No need to feel anxious about it, your boss will definitely understand and they may well be willing to help you out. For example, many currently advertised jobs in Liverpool offer flexible hours straight off the bat. Jobs like: a project manager, a software developer, a curriculum developer, and even an online tax advisor all start off with flexible hours. Finding time for the family and work is possible, you just need a little patience and resilience!
Unsync your emails
Setting up clear boundaries between your home and office is important. Give each one its own time, no need to mix the two. So when you’re home, set your email so that you can’t receive work-related emails when you’re not in the office. By doing so, your phone will not be ringing with incoming emails at all times. Meaning your focus can be dedicated to your family. This may be all it takes to resist the temptation to quickly check your phone whilst you should be spending quality time with your partner or kids.
Organise your time:
A great way to keep yourself at least relatively sane, and having enough time to dedicate to both your career and family, is to organise, organise, organise! There’s no easier way to make time for both if you plan ahead of time. Not only will you be dedicating enough time to both, but also making sure you don’t miss out on anything important. Get an agenda- it helps! Sometimes the thought of making specific plans is much worse than the actual doing it. Once you’ve got specific times and days when you know there is something you want to do, it will make your full schedule seem a little more manageable.
The struggle in having to divide yourself between your job and family is real. It can be so stressful it can be at times. Therefore, you should try to make time for yourself too. Whether that be enjoying a book before bed, watching your favourite TV show, or just listening to your favourite CD, choose your favourite way to relax and find the time for it. Not only will you be able to then face your day better, but you’ll be more productive too; career and family-wise. An overworked stressed out parent or employee is no good to anyone including yourself.
Talk to Your Family
Finding time for your family while you work is not always the easiest of tasks. No matter how much you plan. Or un-sync your emails or organise your hours, sometimes you just can’t make it back in time for dinner. Talk to your kids. Be honest about the fact you might be quite busy for a while. Maybe you can all discuss something to do together once the workload has eased a bit. In those cases when you can’t make it back from the office until late try to make a quick, simple phone call to hear about their day. It usually does the trick; both for you, and them.
Do you have any more tips for finding the right balance for your home and work life? I think I’ve finally found it now but it wasn’t easy and most definitely took me a long time to figure it out.
*A collaborative guest post*