Balance Doesn’t Exist: The Life of a Working Parent
As working parents, the amount of hats we wear and the things we juggle can make us feel like we are a one (wo)man circus show! From spouse, parent, caretaker, chauffeur, and chef to employee, entrepreneur, and manager - there are so many roles and responsibilities that fall onto our plates. There will inevitably be times we may feel like we are slacking in one particular area but killing it in another. I am here to tell you: that is okay! It is okay to grab fast food on the way home from soccer practice instead of cooking a perfectly balanced dinner. It is okay to give your kiddo the tablet so that you can get through a virtual meeting without interruptions. With all of the responsibilities working parents have, you need to take the pressure of perfection and balance off your shoulders!
In the search for balance, I have come to the conclusion that while it sounds amazing in theory, it doesn’t actually exist. Instead I try to play on my strengths and counteract my weaknesses in order to manage all of my hats. I know that I have an insanely busy schedule and sometimes things can fall through the cracks – to counteract this, I utilize my calendar to its full potential! I put not only work events but also personal ones so that I can see my day or week in its entirety. I have also found that color coding is such a big help – for any of you visual people out there, I highly recommend this! This not only helps you remember everything you have to do but you will also be able to see where you are spending a lot (maybe too much!) time and where you have availability. Be sure to download the app for your email provider on your phone so that you get calendar reminders 15 minutes before the event!
Getting in the habit of setting your day, week and month up for success can also be a huge help. What are your top priorities – adding in two date nights with your spouse per month, sitting down for dinner every night, or completing a big project? Start with your month and then work your way down to each day to decide what is most important to accomplish and then build your schedule around that. Whether or not time management is your strong suit, you can find lots of tips and tricks to help keep all of your roles in check!
Probably most important of all is to make time for yourself to decompress. Even if it’s a few minutes while getting ready for work or the car drive to pick up your little one from school – find a moment during the day to breath. This may seem counterintuitive when you have so many other seemingly more important things to do but if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to properly take care of anyone else. Find something you enjoying doing alone, with your spouse, children or whole family and throw that on your calendar as well! Whether it’s a nightly dinner or a weekly bike ride – don’t forget that fun is just as important as work!