As a working parent, you’re all too familiar with the whole notion of work life balance. For some, work life balance has been achieved with careful planning and of course, hard work. For many others though, the concept of work life balance remains just that – a concept, and not a reality.
It took me a few years and loads of trial and error until I came to the point where I could honestly say that I had achieved balance with work and life. As you know, children grow and when that happens, there are changes with relation to what they need from us as parents. That in turn requires us to make changes to our own work routines, so we can tend to their needs and yet, still do what we need to do in our professional life.
I’ve taken some time to research ways for working parents, just like you to achieve a healthy work life balance. I know for a fact that every parent and every child are different, so you’ll need to experiment a bit to find what works best for your family. A great place to start is with…
The top 11 tips for achieving a healthy work life balance as a parent!
1. Decide WHEN you will be working: If you’re self-employed, choose what hours you wish to work. Think about your child/ren and their needs, and work around these. Take into consideration as well what you want personally when setting your work hours.
2. Work with your boss for flexibility: Be upfront with your boss about what you can do, so then your boss will have his/her expectations spot on from the get go. Keep your promises, and if you have any problems at all keeping up with things, let your boss know right away. By being open and honest with your boss, you’ll find your boss to afford you the flexibility you need, when you need it.
3. Keep weekends free for family: During the week, it really can be like a never-ending merri-go-round – and one that gets faster and faster. So keep your weekends free for your family, and for doing those chores around the house like the washing, tidying and vacuuming.
4. Spot clean only during the week: We all like a tidy house, but don’t put yourself through the stress during the week of doing a major clean and tidy. Just spot clean where needed, so you can maintain the tidiness of your home, as achieved on weekends.
5. Outsource if you can: If you are able to, look into outsourcing things like cleaning to a professional. Help is available in every area, and you can also get help when it comes to baby-sitting, gardening – even cooking.
6. Create a task list for each day: If you work from home, create a task list for each day. Do the most important, pressing tasks first. Also, avoid falling into the trap of leaving the difficult, dreaded tasks until later in the day. Tackle them first thing and use the momentum created by completing that task, to work through the remaining tasks for the day.
7. Don’t be so hard on yourself: As a working parent, don’t be too hard on yourself and know that your task lists and work routine are flexible. Do your best, and let the little things slide.
8. Take time out for you: Set aside an hour or so a day just for you. It could be a nice hot bath or a meditation, or just reading a book. This way, you can rest, relax and recharge. It will work wonders for stress as well.
9. Maintain health and fitness: Eat right and exercise daily! Even something as simple as a 20 minute walk can work wonders for your health and your well being.
10. Create a really good support network for yourself: Friends and family are really important in helping you achieve work life balance, so create a good support network around you – a group of people you can call on for help and share your vents with! By being connected with others, stressful situations aren’t so stressful anymore.
11. Remember happiness is everything: Sure it’s nice to have material things and luxuries, but at the end of the day your happiness and that of your family is paramount.