5 Simple Things All Successful Working Parents Do.
Juggling work commitments with family responsibilities is hard work, and stressful. But some parents manage it - would you agree?
Many would. 48% of parents surveyed for The Modern Families Index said that work got in the way of spending time with their children.
Managing a career and being a parent often leaves parents feeling guilty, and over-stretched. Yet other parents seem to “glide” through the challenges that life throws at them.
If you often feel that there are not enough hours in the day. Not enough time to get everything done. Not enough time to meet everyone’s needs, here are five things you can do to achieve success at home and at work:
1. Stop trying to get a 50:50 split of time between work and home
Achieving success at home and at work does not mean splitting the time between them equally.
Successful parents accept that there will be times when the family need more attention. And times when work will demand more of their energy.
Instead of straining to divide the time “fairly”, they remain flexible. They understand the different “rhythms” that underpin their life. Then they use these to plan where they need to focus their attention. My recent post Working parents you absolutely can conquer guilt, fear and sorrow has more details.
2: Look after yourself.
Do you recognise this instruction? “In the event of an emergency you should put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting anyone else”? Why does every airline tell you this every time that you fly with them?
Because in this extreme example, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t help anyone else. Like the children. And that’s a good analogy for your role as a working parent.
But almost half of the respondents to The Modern Family Index said work stopped them looking after themselves. Work prevented them from taking enough exercise, from resting and from eating healthily.
When you’re feeling exhausted and stretched “wafer-thin”, finding a little time for “you” feels impossible.
But these are the times when you need that time the most.
Successful parents know and practice habit five of The Productivity Code “Know Yourself and Nurture Yourself”. They know that taking care of themselves helps their efficiency and productivity.
And exercise does help. Studies cite that regular exercise:
· Improves concentration
· Sharpens memory
· Increases the speed of learning
· Improves mental stamina
· Enhances creativity
· Lowers stress
And it doesn’t need to be for hours every day.
3. Role model responsible values and behaviours
Parents who achieve success at work and at home don’t give the children everything that they want. Their goal is to raise young people who will grow to become responsible adults and good citizens.
So, they ask the kids to help around the house. They teach responsibility without nagging or yelling. They agree the chores the children will do. They establish clear consequences and aren’t afraid to follow through with them.
They role model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment. It’s hard, but it’s an invaluable lesson in preparing children for adult life.
4. Ask for Help
There’s a wonderful African proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’ll be blogging on this in a few weeks, but an article by Katharine Hill called “it takes a village to raise a child” is a great read on the subject.
Most people find asking for help hard. But asking for support can be one of the biggest keys to success – and this is especially true for single parents.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
In fact, successful parents often trade favours. Could you ask for help in getting your children to swimming class by offering to take other children to rugby practice at the weekend?
When you know that your children are in safe hands, you’ll be more productive at work
5. Don’t feel guilty about working
Many parents would rather not work, but in the UK today having one parent stay at home is often not an option. In more than half of millennial couples both parents are working full time. (Modern Families Index 2017)
Parents who achieve happiness at home and success at work aren’t wasting time and energy on guilt about working. But they do look for options to improve things e.g. exploring flexible work arrangements.
They also accept that making the children a priority can mean working hard to pay the bills. But, you can be working parents and good, caring, nurturing parents.
How? By ensuring that when you’re with your family, you give your attention, your energy to the family. Don’t waste it on wishing you didn’t have to work.
I hope that this short article has been helpful. It may have challenged you. It may have caused you to think, “can I really do that?”
The answer is – Yes You Can.
If you’d like to discuss any of the points raised here, or discuss particular challenges that you face as a working parent, then please drop me an email to get in touch.
Until next time.