Tips on Parenting and a Work-Life Balance

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It can be hard to balance the demands of both a job and a family. Women, in particular, are often expected to handle a full day at the office, or in the factory, or in a call centre, and then still come home to a full evening of food preparation and home maintenance. Cooking, cleaning and washing in other words!



If you are pregnant or have just had a child, there are even more factors to consider.

Some women have the choice to stay at home permanently and be full time mothers, while others have no choice but to work. Still more try to maintain a balance between a satisfactory career and a fulfilling home life. This third option can only really work when there is a strong support system in the workplace and within personal relationships at home. Employers need to know one’s circumstances and one’s goals, while partners need to know one’s expectations.

According to Kelly Watson from Quintcareers, it is essential have a life plan in place in order to achieve a decent work-life balance, without feeling rushed off your feet or stressed all the time. To be the best you can be, you need a few tips:

Your Life Plan

Set realistic goals for yourself. If you have chosen to be a full-time mom, decide what financial impact that decision will have and what timeframe you anticipate living out that decision. If you have chosen to continue a high-powered career, determine how you will be delegating your household responsibilities. If you want to balance both, decide what your expectations are in terms of meaningful work and what you are not willing to give up as it relates to your family. Writing down your goals will help you prioritise them.

Your Work Plan

If you make the decision to continue working in some capacity, create a written plan for your employer and present it in a professional manner. Whether requesting a flexible schedule, job-sharing, or more limited travel, tell your employer what you want. Document the return-on-investment and expected impact your plan will have on the business. Make it a win-win – you can't expect your employer to bend if the organisation gets nothing in return. It's okay to fight for what you want, but be ready to negotiate.

Your Backup Plan

It's important to anticipate disruptions and have a back-up plan. It always happens, just when you get into a positive work routine, your phone rings with news of a sick child, a caregiver quitting, or the school closing for an outbreak of lice! To minimise the extra pressure, guilt, and the logistical headaches of emergency situations, prepare in advance. Make sure your technology is set up to work anywhere. Plan a backup childcare solution. Your partner should be involved with this – whether they work or not.

Build a Support Team

The fourth step is to build a support team, which could include extended family or  domestic help. Your spouse or partner should definitely be recruited to the plan as well. It is important to clearly define expectations and consciously agree upon the division of labour. If you agree to share cooking and washing up dishes on alternate nights, stick to it.

Saying "No."

Finally, to achieve work-life balance, you need to get really good at saying "no." Measure yourself against your goals, not other people. Balance is really about drawing personal boundaries and sticking to them. We all know women who are burnt-out, over-stressed, and ultimately missing out on the benefits of what a balanced life can afford them. However, consciously choosing your path and building a solid plan to support your choice, can increase the odds you will be balanced and fulfilled as a wife, mother and/or career woman.

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