No one is busier than a full-time working parent. The demands on your time are incessant, every daily decision important, and the burden of responsibility can feel overwhelming. The demands of “having-it-all” can drive parents to take financially risky measures, such as cutting an entire salary so that one parent can stay at home with the kids. But not everyone can afford such an option.
If you’re feeling the heat, check out these 7 ways to help balance life, work, and parenting.
Stagger Work Schedules
Two-parent families may be able to ease the madness by staggering their work schedules. If your employers allow the change, the parents will get more one-on-one time with the kids and maybe save on commutes, as well.
Develop A Strong, Trusted Network Of Childcare
Finding a great nanny, after-school mother’s helper, neighborhood babysitter, and/or daycare center may take some time, trial, and error. But if you develop a network of people available to pitch in, you’ll be less stressed when (inevitably) plans go awry and you need to find someone quick.
Be Frank With Your Employer
Don’t make a secret of your scheduling requirements. Let your boss know what your constraints are, whether it’s leaving at a certain time to pick up your child from school, or taking off the first Tuesday of every month for sports-related demands. Offer up how you intend to make up the time, and stick to your promises.
Catch Up During Lunch Breaks
Use lunch breaks to tackle paperwork and errands, such as picking up a prescription, posting a letter, filling out school paperwork, making doctor appointments, writing a list of questions for your parent/teacher conference, calling your own mother, etc.
Have Everything Delivered
Technology saves time and often money, too. Arrange for your dry cleaning and laundry to be picked up and dropped off at your home. Do your food shopping online and have it brought to your door. Shop for gifts on the internet, where many vendors offer gift-wrapping and free direct delivery to the recipient. Take care of as may errands as possible during the week so that you can play with your kids on the weekend, rather than drag them around to stores.
Set Up A Schedule
Set up a large calendar in a centrally-located area where everyone can write in their schedules, from travel-team games, PTA meetings, project due dates, special events, trips to the physician, etc. Every Sunday, review the calendar with the whole family to make sure all arrangements for travel and childcare can be met.
Roll With It
For busy working parents, balance is always a challenge. Worrying that you’re not handling it well is part of the process. Life is imperfect, messy, and your time as an active working parent is (relatively speaking) brief. Strive to accept the limitations of time and energy and don’t berate yourself if you feel you’re falling short. Remember, tomorrow is another day.