By: Laura Gunn
Finding a work-life balance is often difficult. Many people struggle to find the separation between work life and personal life. The battle for balance gets even more difficult to find when you have children.
Becoming a parent is a great joy and an exciting adventure, but it makes time more limited. Rather than rushing home to spend a quiet evening with a partner or friends, parents stay on the clock long after the workday ends.
Juggling all the responsibilities of working and parenting can be incredibly stressful. There are many things to do, but only a few hours in the day. That’s why so many parents look for support and help to handle the demands of life, work, and children.
More often than not, parents employ the help of other caregivers, whether family members or professionals, to get everything accomplished. What is frequently overlooked, however, is the travel between the babysitter and home.
Having children in the car means there is more at stake and a higher need for safety and road awareness.
How to Find the Balance
A working mom finds herself under a lot of pressure. Not only is she working long hours to provide for her family, but she’s battling the crippling feelings of mom guilt. It can seem almost impossible to get things accomplished at work without missing out on the precious days of your child’s young life.
It can be difficult, but finding a good work-life balance is possible. You can be both the hard-working professional and the devoted parent who is present in the moment. It just takes time, patience, and intentionality. Here are four ways you can achieve a work-life balance.
#1 – Make a Plan for Your Workday
The first step to success in almost any situation is a well-developed and realistic plan. The same is true for parenthood.
To juggle a job, life, and children, it’s important to make a plan. Start by identifying a general time frame for big moments in your day. Consider wake times, nap times, meal times, school and work schedules, bath times, and bedtimes.
Set those big moments as the guideposts for the rest of the day. Fill in any other activities and responsibilities when it makes sense and can more easily be accomplished or attended to. Communicate the schedule with all invested parties, including partners, spouses, and children.
Once you have a schedule established in writing, try it out for a few days or a week. After the trial period, meet together as a couple (or a family if you have older children) and talk about the schedule. Consider the areas of success and areas in need of improvement.
#2 – Make Your Plan Flexible
Plans and schedules are great, but they cannot control our lives or be too consuming. Understand that the best-laid plans don’t work every time and may need to be reworked. Approach your daily schedule in the same way: Be prepared but flexible.
The need to change, revise, or completely reevaluate doesn’t mean you or your plan has failed. Change means there is growth and a chance to better improve what has already been created.
Consider the slow parenting approach to take some pressure off and help create flexibility.
#3 – Find a Supportive Community
Juggling young children and a job shouldn’t be a solitary activity. Gather supportive people and pieces of technology to help you be successful.
Look to your partner or spouse to shoulder some of the daily responsibilities of childcare and activities. Consider making it part of your schedule, marking clear and defined times for each of you to be on parent duty.
You might even consider establishing a playdate rotation with other parents. These activities keep children entertained and engaged while also helping other parents get things done workwise.
#4 – Communicate With Your Spouse and Boss
Keep up the communication. A system and a plan only work when everyone involved is on board and understands the expectations. Make sure to communicate openly and often with the people who are directly involved or affected by your schedule.
The most important support in this parenthood venture is your partner or spouse. Let your partner know when you need help, even if it just helps to get the children to and from school. Open communication will make it easier to juggle the various responsibilities and happier days.
Don’t forget to touch base with your employer about your life situation. Most employers are very understanding of the demands of parenthood and are happy to make accommodations when necessary.
Keeping Your Kids Safe in the Car
Life with kids often requires parents to be flexible, but when it comes to your children in the car, safety can’t be sacrificed. The family vehicle should be a safe, happy place. Getting children to and from the babysitter, school, or other activities usually means a lot of time in the car.
As a parent, you need to make sure your children’s car seats are installed properly and all car seat requirements and laws are met. Don’t forget to confirm your child meets the height and weight requirements when you buy a new seat, and graduate them out to a more suitable seat as they grow.
Laura Gunn researches and writes for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsurance.org. She is a stay-at-home mother of two young boys with a few side hustles. She is passionate about helping other mothers find balance in their own lives.