Finding a balance between one’s job or career, and parenting may not be the most straightforward. There may be times when you feel that you have achieved this balance, whereas other times when you feel that one is taking over the other. So how can one maintain the right balance between the two?
1. Know Yourself.
The first thing any parent needs to do is to take a look and see which are the supportive factors and which factors are a source of conflict (internal or external). Who are the people that you can rely on? Which aspects are causing you stress? What are your financial commitments that may be worrying or pushing you to put in more hours of work? What happens when your work spills over into your family life? What happens when your family commitments impinge on your work performance? How is all this impacting your relationship with your children and in turn your children’s behaviour?
2. Plan Ahead.
After gaining insight into what the situation is, the next useful step is to write down your goals and targets. Include in this list any known setbacks or else any opportunities that you may tap into. What are your current routines? What works and what doesn’t? Why does this happen? Planning ahead gives you a better chance to tap into resources and to tweak around the things that are not functioning best.
3. Talk It Out.
Discuss things with your partner or support systems, even with your kids. It can be helpful to explain to your children about your work and commitments. This may help them put their mind at rest that there will be times when your schedule will be tighter due to deadlines, but since they are prepared for them, they may not feel as threatened when the time comes. It also enables them to develop skills on how to cope with their own stressors. In addition, when you discuss these matter with your partner or support system, they may be more attuned to you and offer support when the need arises. Being open and communicating about your hurdles, ensures that your energy doesn’t get sapped by unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.
4. Be Mindful of Yourself.
Being mindful and aware of oneself means that you can better pace yourself and set more realistic goals. By setting unrealistic expectations on oneself, it would lead to feeling frustrated and experiencing negative emotions and self-criticism. It also means that you can take the space and time out that you may need. Self-care is very important since without it, one may not perform optimally either at work or at home with the children. One cannot give to others what he/she doesn’t have at that point in time. So by taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your role as a parent and as a professional.
Finding time to connect rather than rushing from one thing to another, means that you can really experience the moment, rather than living in regrets or anticipation of what may happen. Connection is important at your place of work, with your colleagues and also with the role itself. At home it would mean to connect with the children or your partner, and even with your own emotions. It is easier to lose balance when one isn’t connected and aware of what is happening internally, as opposed to having more insight and being able to be flexible to the situation and giving priority and boundaries to what is most important at that specific point in time.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
- Palmer, C., & Garcia, J. (2014). Best practices:The work/parenting balance. RealScreen, , 14. Retrieved from https://ejournals.um.edu.mt/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/trade-journals/best-practices-work-parenting-balance/docview/1615980821/se-2?accountid=27934
- Buchanan, T., Das, A., & McFarlane, A. (2020). Gender differences in within-couple influences on work-family balance satisfaction: When benefits become threats. Journal of Family Studies, 26(1), 106-125.
- Hosokawa, R., & Katsura, T. (2021). Maternal Work–Life balance and Children’s social adjustment: The mediating role of perceived stress and parenting practices. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(13), 6924. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136924