How to juggle life as a working parent
The Centre of Economic and Business Research reckons the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 is more than £225,000.
That probably means you’ll need to go back to work as the cash from your salary will be even more important to support the household. But how do you juggle your time to find space for your job and your child? Here’s some tips on what to do:
Switch on and off: You need to become disciplined when it comes to focussing on the task in hand. While you are at work make sure your mind is on your job. Use your walk or drive into the office to clear your head. Then, once the working day is over put your parenting hat firmly back on. Cherish this quality time with your child and don’t allow yourself to dwell on your job.
Childcare: Take plenty of time to research the best childcare options available to you. It’s important to find someone you can rely on and is able to work around your needs. You’ll need good, affordable help while you’re at work. Interacting with other children in a positive environment will also help your child’s development.
Team effort: Childcare is important – as is working together as a couple where possible. If both parents are going back to work there may be ways to tweak each other’s hours so you are able to share the ‘school runs’ at different ends of the day. Both parents can help each other and your close family and friends can help too.
Realistic hours: As a working parent you might want to reassess your role and the number of hours you work. If, before you child was born, you used to stay behind after hours to get extra done and took work home in the evenings and weekends then you might need to cut this out. That doesn’t necessarily mean losing responsibility in the workplace but it does mean not taking too much on.
Save time: Your work life and parent life will, between them, take up lots of time so it’s worth coming up with ways to save precious hours elsewhere. Don’t waste time trawling around a supermarket when you could order your shopping online and spend the time you’ve saved with your child. Plan your days effectively to make sure you look after your child and yourself and build in the chance to do what you want to do too. If you’re happy and relaxed you’ll be a better employee and a better parent.
Mindset: Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about going off to work. As a working parent you’re doing all you can to provide the best possible future for your child and are making the most of the skills and talents you have. Ignore the naysayers, you’re doing the right thing.
With proper planning, sensible tweaks to your lifestyle and a healthy relationship with your boss then work and parenthood can be juggled effectively to get the best results for your child and your career.