The joys of parenting are manifold, an experience that barely compares to any other. But along with the joys, come responsibilities. And when you have a demanding career, it can become quite challenging for new parents to juggle work and office duties. Weighing in on the issue, Anita Madan, Head of Curriculum Development, EuroKids, shares, “Parenting is a rewarding yet demanding journey, and when combined with the responsibilities of a career, it can become an intricate balancing act. Working moms and dads often struggle between professional commitments and family responsibilities, striving to create harmony.”
Balancing Tips For Working Parents
Anita Madan lists some practical tips to help working parents balance work and parenthood, fostering a healthy and fulfilling life for themselves and their children.
1. Create Clear Boundaries As A Team
Jointly establishing clear boundaries between work and personal lives can seem daunting, but it can make life much easier for working parents, says Madan. She adds, “By defining specific working hours that accommodate our family needs, we can ensure that both spheres receive the attention they deserve. This collaborative effort helps us stay focused during work hours and promotes dedicated family time.”
2. Prioritising And Sharing Responsibilities
Identifying and focusing on the most crucial tasks at work and home allows parents to streamline efforts more efficiently. Madan points out that sharing responsibilities at home eases the burden and instils a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork in a family.
3. Mastering Time Management Together
Efficient time management is a skill we are constantly refining. “Create a schedule that accommodates work and family commitments, using tools and techniques to enhance efficiency. By working smarter, we can leave the office on time and relish quality moments with our family,” says Madan.
4. Quality Time Over Quantity
Working moms and dads could work towards having shared goals that prioritise quality over quantity when spending time with children. Madan says, “During these moments, we could consider committing to being fully present – putting away distractions and engaging in meaningful conversations and activities. Focused attention fosters strong family bonds and makes the time spent together truly valuable. One way of achieving this is introducing family rituals, like a weekly game night or a Sunday brunch tradition,” says Madan.
5. Prioritising Self-Care As A Team
Recognising the importance of self-care for both by actively prioritising sleep, exercise, and relaxation can work wonders, says Madan. She explains that by taking care of ourselves, we are better equipped to navigate the challenges of balancing work and parenthood, ensuring that we can be our best for each other and our children.
6. Fostering Open Communication As Partners
Open communication is a prerequisite for success – both professionally and personally. “We need to be transparent about our needs and expectations with our employers, colleagues, and each other. By communicating openly, we strengthen our understanding and support for each other’s efforts to balance work and parenthood,” says Madan.
7. Building and Leaning on Our Support System
We should actively build and rely on our support systems, seeking assistance from each other, extended family, and friends. A robust support network provides a safety net for those demanding times, allowing us to share the load and navigate this journey as a united front.
Three Critical Things You Must NOT Do
While being new parents can make you feel extreme emotions, it’s essential to have a grip on your emotional makeup. Anita Madan says these are three things you should avoid doing:
1. Avoid Overcommitting
“We may sometimes feel the urge to take on more than we can handle, driven by the desire to excel at work and as parents. However, understanding our limits is crucial. Overcommitting can lead to burnout, impacting our well-being and effectiveness. Let’s be realistic about what we can achieve, practice saying no when necessary, and prioritize our health and balance,” says Madan.
2. Limit Guilt
As working parents, we often feel guilt, feeling the pressure to give 100% to our professional and family roles. Madan says, “It’s important to acknowledge that perfection is an unrealistic standard. Instead of dwelling on unnecessary guilt, let’s collectively embrace the idea that it’s okay not to be perfect. We can alleviate this common struggle by focusing on being present and making meaningful contributions when we can.”
3. Avoid Multitasking To Extremes
Multitasking is valuable, but attempting to juggle everything simultaneously can decrease efficiency and heighten stress levels. Madan advises, “Our approach should be to prioritise quality over quantity. Whether it’s a work assignment or family time, let’s collectively focus on one task at a time. Doing so can enhance our effectiveness and maintain a healthier balance in our lives.”
Balancing work and parenthood is undoubtedly challenging, but strategic planning, effective communication, and a focus on self-care can successfully navigate these dual responsibilities. “By implementing these tips, working parents can create a more harmonious life that allows them to thrive both in their careers and as parents. Remember, finding the right balance is a continuous adjustment process, and it’s okay to seek help when needed,” Madan says.