According to an article by Scott J. Benson, having a work-family balance isn’t only possible, but it’s also essential for satisfactory performance in the workplace. Greenhaus, Collins and Shaw also conclude that a professional-private life balance is instrumental in leading a quality life in all fields.
Of course, combining family and career depends on a multitude of factors, with some people finding it easier than others. Let’s explore all common problems of creating a balance and how to maintain this elusive stability.
Why is it so difficult to combine family and career?
Having enough love and positivity from your partner and children is equally important as accomplishing yourself professionally. It’s pointless to argue which facet of life is more important, as both are integral “building blocks” of any stable individual.
But why do people fail to maintain a balance between these two different, but equally important sides of life? Here are two of the most common reasons:
Refusing to make difficult decisions. Changing integral parts of life is often difficult, but things become even more difficult if you hesitate. There are common cases of people refusing to quit jobs that require a lot of working overtime and traveling. Also, many families hesitate to move to an area close to both parents’ workplaces.
Not having enough free time. Free time isn’t about sleeping. You need free time to let your mind roam free and forget about all the chores. In today’s society, parents often like to see themselves as martyrs that take pride in working as much as they can. This leads to frequent burnouts.
Now that we know how to recognize two very common obstacles which prevent you from creating a balance, it’s time to analyze all the possible ways to organize your time.
Balancing two equally important, but nevertheless challenging parts of life is possible only if you’re responsible and dedicated to accomplishing the goal.
We can’t stress this enough. The key to combining career and family is making a plan for each day of your life. You are working with two entirely different sets of responsibilities, and it’s impossible to remember everything. Write everything down and use reminder apps on your smartphone to alert you when it is time to be somewhere.
- Keep a schedule in your kitchen or bedroom. Write down when the kids have to go to school, when they have their band practice/basketball practice, and other events they need to attend.
- Don’t forget about long-term plans. As soon as you find out about a dental appointment for your son/daughter, write it down so you can plan around it.
- The key to good planning is starting with things you’re certain about and accommodating the rest to that obligation. Seriously, stop cramming everything the day before. Add things to the plan slowly, and you will feel a lot less stress.
Professional obligations are often more challenging for the majority of parents. You can have your spouse pick up the kids or do housework, but it’s much harder to have someone do your job for you. Take action to be able to assemble a plan.
- Talk to your boss. Let them know you have a family and that you are not as flexible as some other employees.
- Learn to say ‘no’. It may be tempting to take up more projects and more work to earn bonuses, but stop for a second. What good is money if you’re tired, devoid of spending time with your family, and constantly nervous?
- Urge your boss or manager to notify you about bigger tasks and projects in advance. Don’t be afraid to ask! They will appreciate your efforts to plan and will think more highly of you.
Free time and physical activity are not to be avoided
No matter how much you have to work or do around the house, never forsake your mental and physical health. When planning, make sure you have at least 2 hours free on a daily basis. It can be half an hour to read in the morning or maybe a couple of hours to watch a movie with the kids in the evening.
If you’re having difficulties finding free time, ask your kids, friends or husband to help you with chores during the day. Free time ensures mental balance and is crucial when learning how to combine family and career.
According to several research papers, people who exercise at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week have experienced less symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Exercising improves your blood flow and gives you a great chance to relax after a challenging day. Go jogging or join a gym with your spouse. Who says exercise can’t be fun and engaging?
Use help when you need it
- Nobody ever managed to combine family and career by being too proud to ask for help. If you’re feeling pressure at work, politely ask a colleague to take care of some of your tasks.
- If you can’t manage to write a report, use online tools. Essay writing services can be great for completing reports with tight deadlines.
- Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Asking for a favor will save you lots of stress and allow you to assume all your work and family-related obligations.
- You and your spouse’s parents, along with other relatives, can be your greatest ally. Grandparents love spending time with their kids, which can give you more opportunities for some alone time with your significant other.
Raise your kids to be independent
This is often an ignored piece of advice for creating some sort of balance in your life. The sooner you teach your kids how to take care of themselves, the less work you’re going to have.
But don’t order them around. Talk to them like they’re adults and let them know you need them to be a part of the team. Explain that mommy/daddy have a lot of work to do and that it would mean a lot to you if they would wash their dishes.
Accomplishing this will instill your children with confidence and responsibility, as well as prepare them for adulthood. There is no reason why young kids can’t wash a plate and a few forks. Everyone should have their own duties–it takes a team to combine family and career.
Don’t forget to treat yourself and forget about perfection
No matter how organized you are, it’s still difficult to balance family and career. You should be aware that it’s no small task. Reward yourself from time to time and don’t be afraid to relax.
With every bit of hard work and effort, you’ve earned a career you enjoy and a family you love. The treat can be anything you want. Buy your favorite flavor of ice cream or go on a romantic getaway with your significant other.
It’s also important to surround yourself with those who value your effort and appreciate you. Don’t let negativity get to you and make you forget what a wonderful job you’re doing.
Remember, not every day is going to be perfect. If it were, it wouldn’t be fun. Revel in the challenge and enjoy yourself!