How to Maintain a Work Life Balance With Family
Working parents are often said to be trying to have it all. Life pulls in many different directions - our careers, our families, even our pets, they all require our time, our energy, our interest. Long working days due to commutes or shift work, particularly with to the prevalence of the service industry in the UK, can mean that time with children in particular can seem very limited, but it doesn’t have to be. New technologies, more flexible workplaces and a little forward planning mean there are ways of making sure that your long workday doesn't affect your quality time with the people who matter most to you.
Cherish the time you have
It’s often said, but hard to do – making boundaries between work and home is key. Although your role might require you to stay in touch, it can give the impression to your children that even when you are at home your mind is elsewhere. Set specific times that you will respond to work, and in between those times do fun things with your children.
If you are busy for much of the week, sit down with them to make a plan of activities they would like to do with you. You could learn something new together, go on bike rides, or just have lunch together. A plan helps the whole family. If you can clearly see on a chart what the weekend brings, you will no longer be stressed by last minute plans. It also means they can get excited about the plans and focus on the time you’ll be there, rather than when you’re not.
Stay in touch
If you have older children with smartphones, remember to stay in contact during the day as a little reminder you’re thinking of them. Texts, emails with links you think they might like, you could send them a humorous photo of yourself, or photos of where you are if you’ve had to go on a business trip. It doesn’t all have to be about technology - sending something home for your kids to receive during the day like a funny note or a small gift is something that will demonstrate your presence even when you’re not there.
Be in the know
You might feel a little out of the loop by the time you get home, which is why it’s important to stay up to date. Take an interest in what happened in their day or week. If your partner sees them more often, ask them if there has been anything you should be aware of, especially the small things. If even after a long day or week you can return home and ask if they found the item they had lost or made up with their friend, it shows that you are still very much a committed part of their lives.
There will always be things you miss as a parent, regardless of how much you work. With these ideas, having it all might be easier than you thought.
How do you combine a busy working life with family life? Tell us in the comment section below.