Working parents – the secrets to making a success of it
Having a baby is a huge adjustment for most parents. Returning to work and having to juggle your career with childcare can be an even bigger challenge. Most parents will feel the strain of looking after their little ones, while getting their work done and keeping the family financially secure.
How to balance work and family – Tips for working parents
So, how do you make it work? Jana Reinhardt, who runs jewellery website www.JanaReinhardt.com and is mum to two daughters, shares her tips for how to balance work and family and be successful in both :
Plan ahead –
It’s the most obvious thing in the world, but taking a few minutes to get everything ready the night before can save a lot of stress and panic the next day. Lay out all the children’s clothes and your own, make all the packed lunches, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and even leave their shoes and coats by the door. All really small things, but it makes the morning school, and kindergarten drops run smoothly, you will arrive at work much less stressed and more productive.
Get organized –
Create a family calendar and write down where everyone needs to be and when. Hang it in a family space, like the kitchen and use a different color pen for each family member. Include work and kindergarten/school schedules, as well as birthdays, holidays, playdates and carpool details. Seeing everything written down is a great visual way to help yourself feel more organized and on top of things.
Be realistic –
Don’t set targets that are impossible to achieve. What you can get done now, will not be the same as before you had children. You simply don’t have as many hours in the day with all your extra responsibilities – so don’t be afraid to scale your work back when you need to. When you have a toddler, nap-time can be a great time for getting things done, and older children will start to attend clubs at weekends as they grow, allowing you to catch up with things. You will find a way to fit in what really needs to be done, but let anything non-essential go.
Be kind to yourself –
Running your own business and being a parent is both incredibly demanding and take it out of you. When did you last take some time out to think about yourself? Try and take 30 minutes out for you a couple of times a week. Even if it’s just a trip to the shop on your own to buy some groceries! Everyone needs a bit of breathing space and alone time now and then.
Build a support network –
Whether it’s Grandparents or a group of friends, we all need someone on-hand to help out with childcare every now and again. If you get stuck in a meeting or your child is sick, build a network of people you can call on if you need extra help. This works both ways, so volunteer to a help a friend in need out. And you’ll pay it forward, and they’ll be there for you the next time you need some extra support. Whether it’s a great babysitter or joining a carpool, taking some time to connect with like-minded parents and carers will prove very useful in the future.
Don’t be afraid to say no –
Whether it’s an extra bit of work, a playdate, another walk for the dog or a night out, there are always additional tasks to be squeezed in when you’re a parent. You have to prioritize and say no sometimes though, spreading yourself too thin doesn’t work for anyone!
Often this just means postponing things until you have more time. Write everything you’d like to do down, prioritize it and put the non-essential things back a few weeks to give yourself more time. No-one will lose out, as everything will get done eventually and in the meantime, you’ll be able to devote more time to the most important things.
Enjoy it –
This is an obvious one, but the one most parents find most difficult! Weeks can fly by when you’re busy caring for your child and working, so try and take a minute to enjoy little things each day. Read a story or do some drawing with your children to connect with them and share something special. Celebrate anything you’ve achieved at work that you’re proud of by sharing it with friends and family. It’s nice to appreciate the wonderful things about working for yourself and being a parent. So try and do this a couple of times a week if you can. You’re doing a great job!
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