The facts are, most families have two working parents which causes the family dynamics to be different than if one parent were home all the time. Finding a good balance between work and family is essential for a happy, healthy life. The best way to do this is through good organization.
Many working parents, especially working moms, feel guilty for having to work outside the home. First line of defense is to have the motto, there is no room for guilt. Parents do what they must to give shelter, food, and a good life for their family and often that means both parents need to work to provide for their family. It’s possible to thrive as a family with both parents (or a single parent) working. Recognizing that there will be times when things won’t go as planned and learning to roll with having both a family and a job is key to happiness here. Let go of guilt, move beyond it. Focus on how to make work and family thrive together with positive energy.
Daycare or child care is a big concern for working parents. Part of the stress of such arrangements is in obtaining quality day care for your precious children. Do your homework when finding the best daycare center or babysitter. Interview and gather recommendations and only go with the best. Make sure the facility is safe, up to code, licensed, and trustworthy. Trust your gut instincts. If you are able to leave your children in a place that gives you peace of mind, you will do a better job at work.
One of the biggest challenges for working parents are mornings. Plan for success by organizing as much as possible the night before. Set out clothing for you and the children. Make the lunches and have the breakfast as ready as possible. Have all the items needed for the children and you ready to go by the door. Plan ahead if one or the other parent will be away and make sure everyone is on board about how the morning routine should go.
A big calendar is a must for organization. Purchase one of those marker board types or a large paper calendar for daily notes. Write all appointments, activities, and anything you need to remember on the calendar. Take time each weekend to go over the next week’s schedule making adjustments where necessary.
Transparency with your employer is paramount in having a healthy working relationship. Your boss needs to know you have a family and that there may be times when you’ll have to take care of a sick child or other family issues. Make sure you know ahead of time the policies of your work such as sick days, time off, and how much time ahead (if possible) you need to ask for a day off. Thrashing this out in the beginning saves heartache later on with things come up, and having children and a family, things will come up from time to time that will pull you away from your job.
Take time during the work day to connect with the children. Even if your child is a baby, have the child care worker hold the phone to their ear so they can hear your voice. Send along a framed photo so your child can see you throughout their time away from you. Make sure to pack a comfort from home, such as their favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed toy.
Make the best use of your time at home with the children. Don’t become distracted with television shows, games, or lengthy phone conversations. Spend quality with your children, focus on them in the evenings. Wait until they are asleep or before they wake up in the mornings to do things like check emails or social media. Be present for your family.
Choose a night a week, or at the very least, once a month where you let the children choose a family activity. Having a fun family night (or a weekend day or night) gives the children a time in which to look forward and this time is paramount in helping to connect and build the close bonds that every family should have.
While spending time with children is important, it’s equally important to nurture the relationship with your spouse. Carve out time with your spouse just like you do with family night. Plan a date night, even if it’s a late nightcap after the kids are in bed, make it a time that you focus only on your spouse.
Don’t forget to nurture yourself. You need to be healthy to be there for your family. Give yourself time for rest and relaxation. Eat right. Treat yourself once in a while to a time out, make this a day at the spa, or get your nails done. Or if money and time is tight, treat yourself to a long hot shower or bath. Curl up with a good book. Just be kind to yourself so you’re healthy and able to take care of the family.