Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released some surprising data on the family-work ratio. In 2021, considering the nation’s 83.2 million families, two-fifths (or 32.8 million), included children under age 18. Among married-couple families with children, 96.5 percent had at least one employed parent, and 62.3 percent had both parents employed last year.
This means that more and more parents have to share the time and attention they give their children with work commitments. Already complicated, this relationship got even more challenging in 2020 and 2021, when many couples were working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is not always easy to divide your time between work and family, but at least there are some ways to balance both your duties, so you don’t feel like you are always racing against the clock. Take a look at the suggestions below to have an easier time managing both responsibilities in life.
A Balancing Act
Due to the speed and high competitiveness of modern companies, and the connectivity of today’s world; employers demand more and more productivity and efficiency from their employees, which often requires people to take work home or at least answer phone calls from co-workers or clients out of hours.
This can impact the quality and quantity of time you spend with your family, who also need your attention – especially if you work away from home and your kids only see you for a little while during the day.
Finding the balance requires measuring work priorities and simultaneously fulfilling parenting responsibilities. Even if you take some work home from time to time, remember that you’ve already spent most of the day at the job and not with your family.
Among the consequences of parents not spending enough time with their kids, the most problematic is the weak family bond. Your children can grow up stressed because they feel abandoned by their parents. You’ll start seeing it in their low grades or difficulty getting along with others.
Finding a Midpoint
Working parents often neglect the family in their weekday schedules. This is the first error you should fix. Next, find the midpoint between work and family by following these steps:
Take a Holiday
Take work leave from time to time and schedule it ahead of time as much as possible so you can organize the details with your family.
Always set boundaries if you need to take some work home, don’t schedule any activities with the family; if you’re watching a movie or playing games with your kids, do not stop to answer that email from work that suddenly arrived.
To facilitate the above step, create a “no phones/no mail” policy, stating that neither you nor the rest of the family will check messages at a particular time of day.
Arrange for daycare, ensure the locations are easy to reach and have flexible business hours.
Get a babysitter (or even a family member) to be on stand-by or willing to look after kids in the chance that parents have something come up at work and are kept away from kids.
Take Multiple Breaks
If your job allows you to take long breaks, or more than once during the day, try to spend some of them with your family instead of looking at your cell phone. Plan with the kids to have lunch with you on one of the breaks, or go for a walk with them in a museum or park near your work.
Practice Time Management
Have good time management and complete as many activities per day at work to have a completely free schedule when you get back home.
Work from home when possible to be able to stay with the kids more often and still be able to make an income/living.
Stay in the Know
Take some time out of your day to listen to your children and understand what might be new with them day to day. How their grades are, any new hobbies they’ve picked up, and if they need new school supplies or other items like clothing, including age-appropriate prescription sunglasses for kids and toddlers.
Work is Part-Time While Parenting is Full Time
Maybe you think your kids are old enough or have their own interests in TV or the Internet to miss you while you take work home – or come home later from work, but it is never that simple. And if you’ve been working more than you should, remember that in addition to family time, you also need to dedicate time with your partner and even some alone time and hours just for you. The day sometimes seems too short for so much, but making room in your schedule for all these things is a natural part of balancing life’s personal and professional sides.
Modern jobs demand a lot, and parenting is not easy either. You can better balance the two compromises by adopting some of the suggestions from the list above. Your family will thank you for that.