Before you had children, how did you unwind after a long day at work? Maybe you met up with friends, hit the gym, went for a hike. . .maybe you did nothing at all—how amazing was that?!
In that era, laundry could wait until the weekend; groceries could be put off until there was nothing left but ramen and ketchup. You could eat cereal for dinner and not feel guilty about it!
Of course, now that you’re older, your standards have changed—and now you have children to set a good example for! Not to mention, so few hours in the day to care for yourself and your children, as well as maintain your career and tend to your home.
In this post, we identify ways working parents can ease the stresses of a work/life balance.
Being a working parent has its unique set of challenges. You have a lot to do in very little time. After a long day, there’s dinner to make, dishes to wash, baths to run—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So how can you juggle it all and keep your sanity? The key lies in planning and preparation:
- Pack lunches for you and your school-aged children. Better yet, get them in on the preparation.
- Help your children to choose and set out school outfits for the next day. You can do the same for yourself!
- Shower at night to ease your morning routine.
- Have backpacks ready to go. Some families find it is helpful to have a box or shelf by the door for backpacks and shoes.
- Prepare crockpot meals in the morning, so they will be ready to go for dinner.
- Check in with your partner and kids about their schedule for the day to make sure everyone is on the same page: Is there swim practice today, or is it your partner’s day to pick up the kids from school?
On the weekends:
- Meal plan: Before you head to the grocery store, pick the dinner meals you want to prepare Monday through Friday. Make a list of the ingredients you need and prepare a food schedule for the week.
- Prepare ahead of time: Clean and cut veggies for the week, make a big salad to grab for dinners, grate cheese, etc.
- Divide and conquer chores: Ask your partner and children get in on the cleaning. Older children can help with sweeping, sorting laundry, putting toys away. Young children can dust, help clean the windows, and make their bed. Remember, kids work for stickers!
- Have fun: Remember to have fun! Look ahead to community calendars, such as GoMomGo, to find out what fun, family activities are happening in your area. Plan to do at least one fun thing as a family per weekend.
Have a plan
When you have little ones in your life, you can expect the unexpected. No school days, school breaks, and sick days can throw a wrench into your day when you are a working parent.
- If you have sick time at work, can you use it if your child is sick?
- Is there a trusted family member or neighbor who can care for your child if they are under the weather?
- Does your job provide any flexibility so you can spend more time with your child and less money on childcare during school breaks? What about your partner’s job?
Juggling It All
Trying to juggle it all can feel like an impossible task. Setting realistic priorities and expectations, and then following through, will allow you to approach your day with more focus and confidence and allow you to be your best for both your family and your workplace. It may seem impossible at times, but you can learn to juggle and find a balance in your life.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! please visit their website (https://parentingnow.org/) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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