Are you trying to balance a career and a family? Then you are not alone. According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, in nearly half of two-parent households in the U.S., both parents work full-time. If you are one of these parents, then you already know that balancing your family and your job is no small feat. You love your family and want to spend as much time with them as possible but you may also love (and financially depend on) your career.
The good news is that, while having a family and a career can prove stressful, it is also completely manageable, depending on how you approach this challenge. Who better to take advice from than other career-driven individuals with families of their own? Below are four tips for having the family and the career, from those who juggle both and still manage to enjoy life!
1) Maximize your time with your family
Let’s face it, coming home after a long day of work to a sink full of dishes or dirty socks on your couch is tough. But this is also an opportunity to look past these tasks that, in the long run, really don’t matter and refocus on your priorities. Rather than go right into cleaning/task mode, spend some time unwinding with your family, re-energizing and then tackling some of the not-so-fun household tasks.
One way to cut back on making your time at home so hectic is to set up a consistent routine to keep things in order. Work with your family to set expectations of everyone’s responsibilities. Make sure they all know what daily chores they need to accomplish and by when.
Additionally, go easy on yourself and your family by adapting to unexpected curveballs in a calm and rational manner. Maybe you forgot to purchase the main ingredient in the dinner you planned to make or your children forgot to remind you of a big assignment that is due tomorrow. Rather than go into panic mode, realize that these hiccups happen to everyone and that staying on top of everything is hard. Then order a pizza and roll up your sleeves to dig into that big homework assignment. When you spend less time reacting harshly to these inevitable situations and instead try to find creative ways to solve them, you can turn potentially negative circumstances into fun family memories.
2) Put your gadgets away
As technology advances, gadgets tend to consume our lives. You may think you’re paying attention to your loved ones while you mindlessly skim over apps on your cell phone but your family will perceive this as lack of engagement. Set aside time every evening and weekend where everyone in the family puts the technology away, if only for an hour or two, and just spends time together. Use this time to develop hobbies that your family loves to do together. This gives you all something to look forward to during the week.
3) Love your career
Your career should be something that you enjoy but that is not the reality for everyone. You do not want to spend your days away from your family for a job that makes you miserable. This can cause you to dislike your job even more. Life is too short to work at a place you loathe or to do tasks that don’t fulfill you. Finding a better career alternative when you have a family to worry about is not simple but it is entirely possible. If you must work, never take career dissatisfaction lying down!
4) Make time for yourself
I realize this is easier said than done. As hard as it is to step away, this is a huge necessity. Constantly having to focus on earning money to maintain a roof over your family’s head, feed them, complete household chores, make sure homework is done, etc. can cause you to lose sight of yourself and can deplete you of your energy. Never forget that you have needs too and only by fulfilling these can you really fulfill the needs of your family and employer. Reward yourself for your hard work both at home and in the workplace. Allow your spouse or partner to do the same without feeling guilty.
And go easy on yourself when you make mistakes. At the end of the day, having a career with a family is a balancing act with no right or wrong solutions.
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