How Are Americans Balancing Work With Parenthood?
We live in a culture that applauds hustle and having it all. We want to climb the corporate ladder and be a good parent. While that sounds great in theory, balancing work and parenting is a challenge that can leave new and experienced parents stressed.
While there's no magic trick to help you balance conflicting duties, working parents do have options. Taking steps such as finding the right workplace, reducing the workload at home, and establishing workplace boundaries can help.
Find the Right Workplace
A recent poll showed that 20% of respondents have jobs that offer childcare benefits such as allowances for daycare or early education. In the same poll, 25% of respondents reported that work-life balance is the top priority when looking for a new job.
For busy parents struggling to manage their schedules, it could be beneficial to work from home in order to save time on your commute and check in with your kids throughout the day. If your employer doesn’t offer this benefit, others do. Keep your eyes and ears open for positions that are eligible for remote or hybrid work.
If you do decide it's time to look for a new job, seek a position with a company that offers childcare amenities or benefits to help you provide family support. These companies exist — 43% of employees say their job provides reasonable, flexible working accommodations for parents. Good positions are out there! A variety of attractive positions, from marketing manager jobs to department and section directors, are available.
Manage Your Work Habits
Whether you're working from home or working in an office, it can be hard to maintain healthy boundaries between work and your personal life. Some tips:
- Set a cutoff time for work and devices: When it's time to turn off the computer and the phone, turn them off! Establishing a cutoff time can make it easier to focus on what's happening at home.
- If working from home, create a designated office-only space: Doing this can help establish boundaries and creates a distinct line between your home life and work life.
- Get help from a spouse or partner during the workday: Work with your spouse or partner to share the responsibility as you tend to your kids. Remember, though, that your partner might have work responsibilities as well.
Reduce Workload at Home
Maintaining a household isn't easy when you're working full-time. The more chores you do on your own, the less time you'll have to spend with kids and family. Reducing the housework can make it easier to achieve work/life balance.
- Use online delivery services to get supplies sent to your home: This can reduce the time spent running errands and should give you more time to spend with family.
- Work with your partner — and children — to divide chores and responsibilities: Get your kids started on household chores, even if they're only capable of helping in small ways. This way, they can get used to helping around the house from an early age.
- Keep the kids busy outside the house: Utilize after-school programs and sports to keep kids active and entertained while you're at work.
- Make mealtime simpler: If financially viable, have meals delivered to your house via a meal kit or delivery service.
Finally, try to set aside at least one weekend day for family activities only. Of course, your work phone should be set aside during this time, and hopefully you won't be doing household chores either. This should be quality time for you and your kids.
It Can Be Done
Being a parent is tough enough but working at the same time can make it that much harder. By finding the right job and the right mix of work and play, you can have a good career and be an engaged parent.
AUTHOR BIO: Nicole Marie is Senior Content Executive at Michael Page, an international recruiting firm. Before joining the recruitment industry, she worked in media and journalism. She now covers employment trends and insights in a variety of industries such as construction, technology and marketing.