Remember when you were in your 20’s and all you needed to worry about was your job and what you were going to do on the weekends? Those were the days weren’t they. Well fast forward a couple years and now not only are you working 50 hours a week, but you also are a parent. Instead of working until 7pm and stopping at the bar on your way home, you’re getting out of work at 7 and getting home just in time for the end of bath time.
Balancing a full-time job and a full-time parenting schedule wasn’t something they taught in high school If you also support your family and pay the bills. Well, don’t worry, I have a little advice and not unfortunately it’s not going to be to quit your job and move to Hawaii…. although it’s not a terrible idea…. Okay yeah actually just quit your job and move to Hawaii. Blog post done……Okay I’m kidding, here are some actual ways you can be a full-time parent and a full-time worker and be successful.
Tip #1: Be Present
Trying to parent and work at the same time is not an ideal situation. Shout out to all the working parents who were home with their kids during lockdowns. Trying to be on a meeting and watch your son or daughter (or both) at the same time usually ends with something broken and your boss asking you if everything is okay.
The best thing you can do is try and focus on one thing at a time. If you are working, focus on work, if you are parenting focus on your children. Now this doesn’t mean work for 10 hours straight without checking in on your family all day. You need to set some goals for yourself throughout the day. It may be different if you’re working from home with kids or if you’re in an office so let me lay it out.
-Working From Home With Kids: If you’re working from home with kids and they’re not capable of playing by themselves or keeping themselves occupied, you want to consider having a nanny or another adult there with you because you won’t be able to do any work unless they’re napping. If you have someone watching them or they can be independent, you should set an hour or two for work, and then set aside 15 to 20 min to check in with the kids to see how things are going. Maybe have lunch or catch a quick walk.
– If You Are Working In An Office: Since there’s no option of setting aside time to see your kids throughout the day, you should set aside time during the day to call them or message them (if they are old enough to have a phone) or call whoever is watching them to FaceTime (if possible). Being gone for 9 or 10 hours a day can be hard, so try and set up multiple times throughout the day to check in and if work gets busy set an alarm for yourself.
For the times you aren’t checking in at home (unless obviously there are emergencies) put your energy in to being the best you can at work. When your home, put your energy into being a great parent and don’t get distracted by work emails or unnecessary phone calls while the kids are awake.
Tip #2: Talk to Your Employer
If for some reason, your boss doesn’t know you have children, they should. It’s only really something you shouldn’t bring up in the interview process, but after that, it’s fair game. Most companies try and make their employees somewhat happy and try and accommodate them when possible. (There are some companies that don’t care about their employees and if you’re not sure if you work at one of those companies, you’ll find out quickly once you have kids).
Anyway, you should let your manager know way ahead of time if you know there are things that may affect your schedule like school concerts, doctors’ appointments and sports or other activities. If you happen to be a Youth Sports Coach you can read my previous article about balancing being a coach and a full time worker by clicking here.
Tip #3: Decide Which Is More Important
At the end of the day, being a full-time worker and a full-time parent will come with some sacrifices. You must decide at the end of the day, which is more important. There are going to be times when you’re going to have to decide if it’s more important to be at your big board meeting or your daughter’s regular season softball game. I can’t tell you which one is more important, and neither can any other blog on the internet.
There may be times when your children are disappointed that you can’t make their special event, but sometimes you may have to choose your job because a meeting with your boss is essential to you keeping your job. There are some cases where your kids may have to come second but it’s important to make it up to them if you feel like you’re missing something important.
Balancing work and being a parent are no easy task, so I empathize with all the working parents out there. If you try your best and put your heart in the right place, I’m confident you’ll make the right decision.