Parents with (paid) jobs have never had it easy. But as hybrid and flexi working becomes the norm for many, work-life spill only contributes to the challenge. As the lines between work and life blur, constant prioritization, performance anxiety, and mental health concerns for family members can be energy suckers.
While this holds true across geographies, it is acute where paid parental leaves and benefits are limited. In the US, for instance, 66% of working parents are on the brink of burnout.
If you are a parent on a career path or holding a demanding job, know that you can make decisions to avoid such burnout. You can make conscious choices that enhance the well-being of you and your family without compromising on your roles.
Let’s dive into some effective ways to manage work and family.
1. Set some boundaries
When working from home on all or most days, have clear rituals that signify log in and log out; don’t limit this to office work. Know when you are entering and exiting yourself from a domestic duties too. While there are always exceptions, this approach will make it easier for you to focus on the moment. It will keep you from feeling pressurized to attend to the endless chores and tasks on both fronts.
Setting a clear distinction between your work and family hours is the first step to avoiding burnout for young working parents. It will make it easier for your partner and children to understand when you can pay attention, and when you simply can’t. On the other hand, it will also make your working patterns clearer to those working with you, helping them optimize work during your work hours, and not beyond.
2. Evaluate daycare costs in the larger context
If you are starting out in your career or have a job that offers basic pay, daycare options may seem expensive or even unaffordable. Don’t give up yet. Compare the costs to your family’s projected income in the mid- to long-term. When you consider the expense as a short-term cost, and the time and space it will create for you, daycare options make a lot more sense.
Perhaps you want to consider a daycare arrangement for your most productive hours at least – this might be your morning hours or top meeting hours – so you can cut back on expenses while also optimizing on getting work done.
3. Track your accomplishments
Work-life balance for young parents is challenging, and as a result working parents are often left feeling guilty for not being able to give their all to either their home or their work.
To combat this delicate balance while also staying motivated, maintain a weekly journal. Every weekend, spend a few minutes writing down a highlight from your parenting life. For instance, you might have ordered an item that made your kids smile. Similarly, track the time you spend with your kids at dinner or bedtime or when you pick them up from school. Chances are the little things add up. You might want to do this for your work too and see how far you’ve come!
4. Be consistent but also human
No one can have it all, all the time. Slow down on expectations at work when you are running out of steam. An unproductive day doesn’t define you or what you bring to work. Similarly, choosing to respond later in the day or week to a low-priority email doesn’t make you inefficient. You might even say no to an additional responsibilities depending on your personal priorities. Don’t judge yourself for your choices. Put in the hard work, be non-negotiable about your priorities, and new roads will emerge when you are ready.
5. Be realistic with parenting goals
See modern-day parenting ideals for what they are – ideals. Social media has increased the pressure we feel to live a perfect life and be a perfect parent, but the truth is, parenting is a learning process. You need to realize this to be able to better cope with making mistakes and growing as a parent.
This isn’t just essential for your mental health but also that of your children; it’s important for them to just be and experience an unstructured day.
This way, you will also avoid setting unrealistic benchmarks that their future selves will struggle to meet. Know that as long as your children feel safe and loved, you can catch up on the little things eventually.
6. Connect with your inner self
Balancing work and parenting include taking a break from the roles and prioritizing yourself. Make sure to set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour every other day. This will help you reconnect with yourself and feel more grounded. Focus on activities that bring you happiness, whether it’s meditation, going for a walk, or even crafting.
It isn’t always easy to do things on a schedule, but it’s important to prioritize yourself just as you prioritize all your other responsibilities.
One of the most important parenting strategies for working families is to practice what you preach. If you want your children to be more independent, confident, and calm, you have to embody it too. That means, show yourself the love and care you show them, even if it’s just for a little while.
7. Get more perspective
It’s easy to forget the world outside when you have a job and a family that often needs more from you. Make time to connect with professionals and parents outside of your immediate network. When you connect with people from across different life stages, you will be pleasantly surprised – your everyday isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. So you need to pace yourself, be kinder to yourself, and take each step as it comes your way.
How can companies support working parents?
Supporting working parents isn’t just good for your employees, it’s good for your business too! When companies support working parents, they pave the way for more innovation, higher productivity, and increased loyalty.
Providing paid parental leaves and benefits does a lot more than help new parents better cope with the dramatic change in their lives. It helps them bring their best selves to work, recommit to their careers while also balancing their home life, and makes for a healthier work environment.
If you’re looking for ways to better support your employees, reach out! Identify employee expectations and preferences, and help your people do better by going the extra mile for them.
SogoEX can help you keep your finger on the employee pulse. Our powerful platform empowers you to check in with employees, decode feedback, and take informed decisions. Let’s connect, and we’d love to show you how our platform can add value to your business!