How to Balance Your Career and Family
Balancing your career and your family is nothing short of a merciful miracle. That is one of the largest sources of stress for anyone with a job and a baby. We live in a productivity-driven society – which means that when we’re not working, we’re not valuable.
This toxic mindset is one for the ages and often affects women more than men. These two are not mutually exclusive anymore, and with more single-fathers entering the workplace, it is an increasingly common issue to discover amongst male employees.
The need to balance your work and family life is a complicated one. That is a particularly valid point when your children are still young and impressionable. You should strike a balance between being a shining example of a good work ethic and being there for your kids when they need you.
This balance does not come easy, and it is something that you will constantly need to strive to achieve. You want that promotion, but you also want to watch your daughter at her first ballet recital; the question is – how do you do both?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about achieving this seemingly impossible balance between career and family.
Set Your Priorities.
The world is rarely black and white; there are grey areas all around us, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. The trick to setting priorities is to know what the desired outcome is from the start. If you choose to be a hands-on parent, then that is where your priority needs to lie.
If, however, you want to become a partner by the time you turn forty-five, you need to realize that you can’t achieve that goal if you are running off every time one of your children has a sniffle. That may sound cold, but the truth needs to be a stark reality for you.
The biggest trick to achieving a balance is to know when to compromise, and you can only know that once you know what your priorities are. Take the time to examine your priorities and re-assess them where necessary.
Prioritizing work doesn’t make you a bad parent; it makes you a parent whose priority is to be a great provider for your children. For example, private schooling doesn’t come without a massive cost – but if you’re a partner, that cost won’t seem so high.
Always Plan Ahead.
Being a working parent is tough, and it’s a busy life. Once your children are old enough to have sports games and recitals, your days will only get busier. The only way to manage your career and family schedules is to have them both planned out in advance.
The only things that you should be adding to your calendar at the last minute are emergency trips to the dentist or the doctor. As the parent of a little boy, you should know that, inevitably, there will be a rushed trip to the A&E to get x-rays done on a limb – probably more than once. It would, however, be impossible to plan for when this might happen.
Everything else should be planned out in as much detail as possible. That way you can still make it to some of the games or recitals without compromising on your career duties.
Ask For Help.
If you’re married, you can share the parenting duties with your spouse. Negotiate school runs or trips to practice, if your week is properly planned then these shouldn’t be an issue. Sometimes it’s easier to assign days to each of you, that way you’ll be able to plan your life without any issues.
If you’re a single parent, ask a friend or a neighbor for help. You will need a number two to help you now and then, even if it’s just an afternoon of babysitting here and there.
If you’re stuck in a job with management who came straight out of the ’90s, you know the type – the uncompromising, intolerant type who doesn’t think a woman should be in the workplace, you need to get a new job.
Find a CV writing service to beef up your resume and add a unique spin to your professional brand. Let them help you sell yourself, they’ll know all of the industry jargon to make you sound amazing. Often the only thing standing in the way of you getting your dream job is literally the world’s worst CV.
Establish Clear Boundaries.
This point cannot be emphasized enough; clear boundaries are a necessity for creating a successful balance between your work and your family life. Be clear and brutal about these, boundaries are there to stop you from burning out.
Without boundaries, you will risk overpromising and underdelivering on all fronts. That will make your situation so much worse at the end of the day. Establishing boundaries is easier than sticking to them, just remember why you set them in the first place and never lose sight of that.
The Perfect Balance.
The “perfect” balance does not exist. For a balance to truly exist – there needs to be an equal amount of imbalance. That may sound like the inside of a fortune cookie, but it’s the most honest thing you will read all day.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking there is a way to give everything your full attention – that is a recipe for disaster. The only balance that you can hope to discover is the balance that is right for you.
Sometimes that will look like you burning the midnight oil to finish a presentation, and other times it will be you missing a mid-season sports game. Nothing in life is perfect – the sooner you learn to accept that, the better it will be for everyone in your life.
Balance is a crazy concept if you think about it. It’s rarely the same for everyone. My version of balance might be vastly different from yours – and that’s okay; what works for you is what will be best.