Balancing Work and Family

In today’s world, most parents have paying jobs that take them out of the house. Responsibilities at work, combined with responsibilities at home make for a pretty large burden to carry. Finding the right balance can be tricky, but it is well worth the effort.

A few generations ago, couples didn’t have to fret over who was picking up the kids from school or who would get dinner started.

For the most part, mum did it while dad was off earning a paycheck. Now, however, keeping a household running smoothly takes a bit more planning.

Mum is every bit as likely as dad to come home stressed and exhausted. Once home, there are plenty of tasks that still need doing.

The best way to find a good balance between work and family is to plan ahead.

Routines Are Essential

Make the morning easier for everyone by prepping the evening before. Lay out the day’s clothing for each family member (adults included), pack lunches and book-bags, and have breakfast foods in stock.

Running out to the shop first thing in the morning is sure to start your day behind schedule.

Some families even set the dishes out for breakfast before heading off to bed. It’s wise to stock a few “portable” breakfast foods for especially hectic mornings.

Establish a routine for morning showers, with each member heading into the bathroom at about the same time each day. This will avoid everyone clamoring for the bathroom at the same time.

Organization is key to an uneventful morning, so set up a schedule, if necessary; it will not only help start the day a bit smoother, but will help teach children to be responsible and timely.

Encourage children to brush their own hair and teeth as soon as they are able, as well as to straighten their rooms and belongings.

If your workday allows, try to keep in contact with your spouse through a quick phone call or email. Not only does this give you a chance to feel connected to each other, it also allows you the opportunity to be sure that all upcoming chores and errands are not forgotten.

Keep weekday dinners simple and quick. If possible, prepare extra when cooking and freeze the additional servings for another evening. It helps to involve all family members in the preparation of dinner, as well as in the clean up.

Turn off the television during mealtimes and encourage family members to talk about their day. Establish a routine of sitting down together to eat, share, and relax.

Also, don’t feel guilty about enjoying occasional dinners out; having time together as a family is worth the added expense.

Make sure that you and your spouse set aside time to be together, without the children. It doesn’t always have to be roses and candlelight, but it is important to make your marriage a priority.

Put the children to bed early enough so that you have a bit of time for just the two of you.

Have a back up plan. No matter how well you organize your life, children will occasionally get sick or your daycare will be closed.

Try to have an alternate caregiver in mind, or coordinate with your spouse about which of you will stay home from work when necessary.

Share Chores But Have Fun

Share chores and responsibilities. Teach your children to help out and discuss the to-do list with your spouse. Choose a set time to run errands and try to combine them into one long trip, rather than several short ones.

While one spouse runs errands, the other can do a bit of straightening around the house or help the children with their schoolwork. When everyone does a bit of the workload, there is more time for family fun.

Speaking of fun, be sure that your life doesn’t get so busy with responsibilities that you forget to have fun. Make the most of weekends by scheduling family outings; they don’t have to be complicated or costly, just time together.

Pack a lunch and ride bikes to the park. Walk through the zoo and have an ice cream. What matters is taking the time to show your children that your family matters.

One last word of advice — avoid feeling guilty. No one can do it all, at least not at the same time. If you are doing your best, then you are doing just fine.

See Also
Child at the window
Hiring a Babysitter
Mum catching-up with work from home
A Job That Suits You and Your Family