Summer Series: 5 Tips for Maintaining the Work-Life Balance for Parents
Updated: Oct 10
When the kids go back to school after summer break, you can practically feel parents collectively exhaling with relief. This year, of course, is a bit different, since there are so many unknowns about the upcoming school year.
Will kids be allowed back in the classroom? Will Zoom once again reign supreme? Because it's unknown how the rest of this pandemic story will play out, this year the collective sigh of relief from parents is not as joyful as it used to be.
Still, there are ways for parents to maintain their work-life balance as their kids go back to school/remote learning. The key is to remember that this is indeed a balancing act, and at some points, you may veer more toward one side than the other. That's okay. Balancing acts are hard. But if you approach the upcoming transition with a plan, it makes it easier to succeed.
5 Tips for Maintaining the Work-Life Balance for Parents
Don't let the struggle of balancing work and life get you down! Here are 5 tried and tested tips for maintaining your sanity while performing a tenuous balancing act.
1. Identify Your PrioritiesWhen juggling your children's new schedules and trying to maintain your old one, there are times when you won't be able to achieve everything. That's right, the work-life balance doesn't mean becoming Superman and suddenly being able to do a hundred things at the same time. It does, however, mean that you have clearly identified your priorities, so you know what comes first and what will be the first thing you let slide, if necessary.
One way to do this is through the Ivy Lee method. This method, created by Ivy Lee over 100 years ago, says that every night, you should write down a list of five or six tasks that you need to do the next day. The next day, you do those tasks, in order from most important to least important. Whatever tasks you don't finish get moved to the top of the list for the next day. The benefit of this method is that it reduces "decision fatigue" and forces you to concretize your priorities.
2. Set Boundaries, Eliminate DistractionsWhen your kids reach a certain age, they can understand the boundaries that you set for them. Therefore, it's important to talk to your children (who are old enough to understand) about your work hours, how important they are to you, and to only interrupt in case of an emergency. Setting boundaries helps eliminate distractions so you can get more work done in a focused environment.
At the same time, you can set boundaries with your boss and colleagues by telling them that certain hours are family time and you will be unavailable for any work conversations/tasks during that period. This way, you can be present with your children so they can feel that they are getting the best part of you.
3. Eat Well, Exercise, and SleepOn the surface, eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep at night have nothing to do with how you divide the time between your family and work. But dig just a tiny bit deeper and the connection is obvious. When you take care of your body, your mind is the true winner. You are in a better mood, feel better about yourself, and have the resources to make good decisions. This makes you a person who will be better equipped to handle life's inevitable challenges.
4. Seek SupportPeople often say "it takes a village to raise a child," so imagine if you have more than one child and are working at the same time! While most of us don't live in villages, seeking out support can be the difference between managing and falling apart. At work, seek the support of colleagues who are in similar situations. Ask for advice on how to manage your kids' schedules and your own work schedule. At home, seek the support of neighbors, friends, and family members who might be able to pitch in. While they can't relieve you of all responsibility, they can definitely lighten the load.
5. Make Time for Self-CareWhen you are constantly vacillating between your children's needs and your work responsibilities, you sometimes lose sight of yourself. Aside from the obvious problem with this, the other problems are that you won't end up doing well in either arena. Self-care is a way to maintain your sanity and give yourself the care you need so that you can have the energy and wherewithal to give others what they need.
What exactly is self-care? Licensed Counselling Psychologist Raphailia Michael defines it as "any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health." Sounds simple, but it's easier said than done. Therefore, when working out your schedule of when to be with the kids, help them with homework, drive them to extracurriculars, give up your device, and actually work, make sure to include some time for self-care. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity.
Healthy Parents, Healthy KidsThe state of parents' physical and emotional health directly reflects that of their children. So when you're able to strike a work-life balance that works, you are not only giving a great example but showing your kids how to succeed themselves.
Another benefit of staying emotionally and physically healthy is that you can qualify for lower rates on life insurance. Life insurance is a crucial foundation for parents, giving them peace of mind knowing that their children will be protected in case of tragedy.
Sproutt insurance advisors are available to help you determine what kind of life insurance is best for you. Simply answer a few questions and we will find the best-value plan for your lifestyle, needs, and budget.