The modern parent has to juggle family and work. For couples, this is hard enough, yet for single parents, it can be a nightmare. Failing to adequately plan your family-to-work ratio might cause more stress at home, unruly kids, and eventually burnout. Fortunately, you can manage your work-life around your children with some simple planning and a little self-love.
The first thing you should recognize is that you aren’t alone. Your partner should shoulder equal responsibility when balancing work and home, so work something out that suits all involved. Also, families such as grandparents are usually more than happy to help out and watch the kids. Perhaps every Friday could be a great night while you get some R & R. Finally if you’re pressed for time, many preschool programs open early and cater to busy parents. These are also excellent ways to get your kids’ education started early.
Negotiate Flexible Work Hours
Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to negotiate flexible working contracts. For instance, the UK upholds the right of parents to negotiate flexible terms at work and leave for fathers and mothers. Check your local laws about what you are legally entitled to as a working parent. These are typically found on the city, state, or national websites. If you cannot arrange flexibility, perhaps settle on a shifted work pattern or a change in shifts. There is usually some arrangement you can agree upon if you work with your boss rather than against.
Develop a Strong Routine
Like getting up, washing, eating, and going to work, you have done for years like a robot. The entire household needs a routine. Developing a routine with your kids ensures everyone is where they need to be at a specific time. Routines are also effective at teaching responsibility to your children as they age. This might reduce the hassle of trying to get a teen out of their pit at 7 am after a night of playing Call of Duty. This can be avoided, however, with simple cutoff times and wake-up alarms. If your kids spend too much time on phones and consoles, you can set parental controls on devices and monitor your home network remotely.
Always Plan Ahead
As with anything, planning is critical. Sometimes work is unpredictable, and setbacks cannot be avoided. For example, you may need to go in earlier than usual to cover an absentee or stay late as you wait on a conference call from another country. Wherever you can, try to predict when such events might happen and develop a contingency plan. For example, if you have meetings one day, arrange school pick up and babysitting if you don’t make it out of work on time.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, one of the most vital things to remember is that you cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. So much time is spent looking after the kids, the house, your partner, and your colleagues that you don’t have much left. So, you must make time. Even if it’s a relaxing bath at the end of the day, do something you know will soothe your soul. And if you need it, cash in your vacation days and take some time off. You deserve it.