We see you, juggling those work emails while singing nursery rhymes and planning tomorrow's lunches... and we GET IT.
It's easy to fall into the guilt trap—feeling like you're not spending enough quality time with your kids or not giving your career the attention it deserves. But take a deep breath; you're not alone, and there are ways to find an equilibrium or at least get closer to achieving it!
In this blog post we're sharing five totally doable tips to help you navigate the choppy waters of work-life balance. We're not here to preach perfection but to offer practical advice with a big dose of compassion, because, duh - being a parent is hard enough without adding unnecessary guilt to the mix!
Imagine your time and energy as limited resources in your own personal bank account. You can't spend them recklessly; you need to allocate wisely. Start by identifying your top priorities in both your work and family life. What tasks and responsibilities are non-negotiable? These are your must-dos.
Once you've established your priorities, set clear boundaries. It might mean designating specific hours for work and family time or learning to say a firm NO to additional commitments that don't align with your priorities. Communicate your boundaries to your employer, coworkers, and family members, so they understand your limits and respect them.
In today's world, flexibility is often the key to successful work-life balance. If your job allows it, explore flexible working arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours. Many employers now understand the importance of accommodating their employees' family needs and are finally open to trusting them with a more blurry version of the traditional 9-5 (thank you COVID!).
Likewise, be open to the idea that your parenting schedule may need to adjust occasionally to accommodate work demands. Flexibility goes both ways, and it's essential to communicate openly with your partner and family members to ensure everyone's needs are met.
You don't have to do it all on your own - the earlier on you accept this in your parenthood journey, the easier your life will be! Consider outsourcing tasks that eat up your time and energy. Hire a trusted babysitter or enlist the help of a close family member or friend for childcare when needed. Use meal delivery services or meal planning apps to simplify dinner preparations. If you can afford it, get home help, or break up the cleaning chores into small daily tasks.
In your professional life, delegate tasks whenever possible. Trust your colleagues to handle responsibilities, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Delegation is a sign of strength, not weakness, and it can free up your time for more critical tasks.
One of the most common sources of parental guilt is the belief that you're not spending enough time with your children. Truth be told, guilt is a permanent fixture of parenthood, so it's gonna stay RIGHT THERE. But keep in mind that it's not just about the quantity of time you spend with your family but the quality of that time. When you're with your kids, be present. Put away your phone, resist the urge to check work emails, and engage in meaningful activities together.
Create rituals or traditions that allow you to connect with your children and create a space for both of you to wind down, whether it's reading a bedtime story, cooking a meal together, or having a weekly family game night. These moments can be incredibly impactful and make up for any time constraints during the week.
You can't pour from an empty cup, and taking care of yourself is an essential part of being a great parent and employee. Schedule regular "me time" into your calendar, whether it's a solo walk in the park, a yoga class, an oh-my-gosh-I-needed-that chat with a friend, or a glass of wine on the balcony. Prioritising self-care helps you recharge your energy and reduces burnout.
Don't hesitate to seek support from a therapist, counsellor or support group if you're feeling overwhelmed*. Talking through your challenges and feelings can provide valuable insights and coping strategies.
Balancing work and parenthood is an ongoing journey, and it's perfectly normal to feel like you're walking on a tightrope from time to time. Finding that elusive equilibrium takes constant effort, so pat yourself on the back every once in a while!
*Should you need further support, our counsellor William Hayman and psychotherapist Xanthe' Sciberras are available for sessions at the MyMama Hub in Naxxar or live online. Bookings via www.picktime.com/mymama.