If you’re anything like me, time is a rare commodity. Between working, taking care of Mr. Baby, and growing number two (it might be a passive task, but it takes a lot more time and energy than we give people credit for), I feel like I never get it all done. I work from home most days and venture in to the office twice a week. Managing both parenting and working has had its challenges.
However, I have found that my family runs on consistency. Working from home offers a lot of flexibility, which is great. However, I still have to make a schedule. Without a schedule, it’s challenging to set expectations for work and family. By maintaining a consistent schedule, my family and employer know what to expect. This limits the meltdowns, confusion, and miscommunication, which makes my life so much easier!
Making a distinction between the two roles also allows me to keep work time work and family time for family. By creating a separation, they don’t all run together. This allows me to feel like I’m not always working or vice versa. I think this can be a challenge for many working parents, however, due to the demand of their jobs. Whether it be working from home by the hour or in a salary position (which requires more availability), small separations go a long way to making a happy home. Communicating your situation with your employer, clientele, etc. makes it much easier to get the job done and still maintain good working relationships.
Another aspect of a working parent’s plight is the guilt factor. I know many mothers feel a twinge of guilt every time they find out, via text message no less, that their baby crawled for the first time or scored their first goal. Missing out on these milestones is a reminder of the sacrifices and tradeoffs we make to meet the demands of life. Accepting the situation is key. Perhaps a parent works because they want to or perhaps they work because they have to. Either way, own your situation. Being bitter about it generally sours the whole experience. If you are working away from your children, make sure the care provider updates you with pictures or videos. Technology makes is much easier to stay connected, so take advantage of these resources!
In my experience, it is often the job that takes front stage when juggling the two roles. I guess it’s a lot easier to tell a baby/child (let’s be honest, we don’t really even tell them) that we need to go or we need to take a call. It’s much hard to explain to the boss that you ignored their call because you were playing Connect Four. However hard it may be, setting boundaries and realistic expectations increase the productivity of both jobs. Everyone wins!