Whether you’re a mother or a father, a high-flying career type or just prefer to work enough to get by, getting the balance between your job and your family can be a constant struggle. And whilst we don’t pretend to have all the answers, there are a few things we can do to make life a little bit easier. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at our five top tips for making your work-family balance a little steadier.
Ignore the nonsense
People have been debating for decades whether parents can have it all, with ‘all’. But the truth is that different people have different priorities. And those priorities will also change as people change during their lifetime. So really, it’s impossible to say what the ‘best’ way is for people to have it ‘all’ because having it ‘all’ means something different to everyone.
So don’t waste your time listening to what people think you should do. It isn’t about ‘winning’ or having ‘everything’. It’s about finding a set-up that works for you and your family. And remember, what works for you today might not be the same next year.
Use local childcare services
Whether it’s one or five days a week, having high quality child care is key to helping you balance your work and family lives. But daycare isn’t just good for logistics, it’s also great for your child as it allows them to play with and learn from other children as well as develop social, emotional, linguistic and motor skills in a nurturing environment.
When it comes to choosing a daycare centre, remember to choose something close to where you live as opposed to where you work. So for example, if you live in Kariong, find child care services in Kariong. Because, whilst having a daycare centre near your office may seem easier short-term, using a childcare centre near your home allows you to meet other parents and children in the area and start building a network that could be around for the remainder of your child’s school life.
Like daycare, playdates are a great way to help children to develop all sorts of skills through play. It’s also a great way to ease them into school life by learning to socialise from an early age.
On a practical level, playdates are also a great way for you to either socialise with other parents or have a bit of free time to yourself. When it comes to balancing family, work and everything else life throws at you, taking it in turns with other parents to look after each other’s kids is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
Scheduled family time
Just as you would schedule in date-night with a partner, it’s important to have some regular quality-time as a family. Whether it’s watching a movie together at home or going out to the beach on a Saturday, scheduling specific family time is a great way to ensure you strike a good balance, even when you are super busy with work. If you need to, make a family calendar to make sure you have at least a few hours of quality time together every week.
Give yourself a head-start
Mornings can be hectic enough without babies, toddlers, teenagers or all of the above to worry about. Help yourself to start the day calmly by preparing as much as possible the night before. From packed lunches and school uniforms to your office outfit for the day, prepare whatever you can before going to bed so that you can start the day strong. It sounds small, but having a positive morning will do wonders for your emotional wellbeing and will help you to feel in control for the rest of the day.
Working and raising a family is not easy. But with a bit of forward planning, some teamwork and a healthy dose of help, it can be done. So don’t worry about whatever the current definition of ‘having it all’ may be and focus on doing whatever makes you and your family happy. At the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.