Balancing work and family is an issue for almost every family and finding the right balance can feel completely overwhelming. There are some strategies, however, that can help families cope:
- Set priorities:
With so many demands on our time, it’s hard to be everything to everyone. You may be juggling a number of roles and goals in your life. You want to be successful at work, enjoy a healthy couple relationship and be an involved parent.
You may have goals of furthering your education, maintaining a home, contributing to your community, keeping to a fitness regimen and/or saving for early retirement.
You may also be juggling extended family issues, like caring for aging parents or dealing with an illness in the family. All of these things take your time and energy and may sometimes cause conflict if not managed properly. In view of this, you may have to think about your values and set some priorities based on those values. Also, build a structure around how you can carry out each plan without one coming in the way of another.
- Plan and do things in advance:
Work weeks are when most of us tend to be the busiest. By preparing for Monday’s arrival, you can ease the stress of the week ahead. You can keep a family calendar posted on the fridge. On Sunday, you can take a look at what’s on top for the week and plan how you are going to manage the week. When you can, make meals on the weekend and put them in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick reheat on a busy evening. This can be an activity where you can involve and enlist your older children’s help or get an extra-hand to help in the home if you can.
- Build rituals into your life:
You can schedule time to ensure that family time happens. It can be a family movie or games night. You can make dinner time sacred family time, where you sit down together for dinner and take turns sharing the day’s events.
- Take out time for yourself:
Taking out time for your self is priority. It’s something you should do no matter how tired you are. Drag yourself out the door to your fitness class, afterwards you will be in better humor and happy that you did something for yourself. You can relax by watching your favourite weekly show and protect that time as much as you can. If you take care of yourself, you will be better able to take care of those you love and deal with the stress that a busy schedule brings.
- Make room for couple time:
In the work/home whirlwind, it is easy for two people, while living in the same household, to drift apart. Just as it is important to spend time interacting with your children, it’s important to spend time interacting with your partner. Set aside time for one another. On Friday nights, you can get away and go for a walk together, after which you have made good plans for the wellbeing of the children. Even if it’s just for an hour, it will make a significant difference.
- Share your work experience with your children
Through your words and actions, your children should know that they are a priority in your life, but it is also helpful to let them know that your work is important to you too. You can talk to your children about what you do at work and take them with you to see where you work. Children are more likely to be responsive to your work demands when you share that part of your life with them.
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