February has begun, and for most families, so has the 2018 school year. This time of year often evokes mixed emotions. It is the end of summer holidays, extra family time and sleep-ins, and the beginning of structure, routine and normal, hectic living. Not only does school resume, usually sports, tutoring and all other manner of extra-curricular activities do as well.
If you’re one of the millions of working parents in Australia, finding the balance between your career, and managing the exhausting schedules of children can seem near impossible. At Kis Marketing, most of our staff juggle work and families on a daily basis, including Managing Director, Cristen Cable. A few years ago, after the birth of her fourth child, Cristen wrote a blog on this very topic. Given how busy this time of year is, we wanted to once again share our updated tips on finding the balance between work and family, because…. Being a parent is a tough job in itself!
15 Top Tips for maintaining parental sanity:
- Accept you are not superhuman
We love Marvel and other superhero films as much as the next person, but they are not real. Repeat: They.are.not.real. Don’t ever put too much pressure on yourself, being human means accepting our limits.
Going back to the fact that you’re not superhuman, forgetfulness is a real thing. Worse for parents and even worse for those with babies still up through the night. Keep a diary. Write everything in there from work commitments to library day for the kids, if you don’t, it might well fall through the cracks. Remember to schedule time for yourself too, everyone needs “me time.”
You are not superhuman, but if you surround yourself with an awesome team at home and in the office, you can have your own group of avengers. Delegating appropriate tasks to others will afford you the freedom and opportunity to take time out, or attend that school assembly or sports carnival.
- Get help where you can
Accept that you can’t do everything, and where budget allows, bring in some help. Whether it’s a cleaner, au pair or outsourcing your ironing, your time is money as well, and you need to ensure you’ve got enough of it for yourself and your family.
- Technology is a wonderful convenience
Modern conveniences like smart phones allow you to carry emails with you wherever you go. We don’t recommend letting work correspondence take over your home life (more on that later) but some work matters can be dealt with promptly while waiting in doctor’s offices or watching swimming lessons. Bluetooth devices allow you to safely make and take calls while on the road too. Convenient!
- Avoid bringing work home
Home is home and work is work. If you’re a business owner, this can sometimes be an impossible task, but you can minimise the frequency. See the above suggestions for taking advantage of modern technology to complete work related tasks at appropriate times. This way, when you’re home, you can dedicate yourself to those you love most.
- Make exercise, diet and fitness a priority
The better you feel physically, the better you can perform at work and home. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly, not only will it give you a boost in endorphins, it will reduce your risk of downtime due to illness. Having “no time” for exercise is not an excuse. Download a TABATA or 7 minute workout app and make the time to look after your physical and mental health.
- Keep things in perspective
When work or home life starts feeling overwhelming, ask yourself, “In the big picture, will this really make a difference?” If the answer is yes, work through the problem systematically, and if the answer is no, find a way to work around the issue, or move on completely. Don’t waste time on things that aren’t important.
- Embrace takeaway night
Set aside one night a week or month for takeaway. One night where you know that no parent in the house is responsible for cooking or dishes. This will take a weight off your shoulders. If takeout isn’t always financially feasible, accept that eggs on toast or 2 minute noodles are perfectly acceptable meals on those occasions.
- Live in the moment
This applies to family time. If you’ve ever dropped a first or a last child off at kindergarten, or watched a baby crawl for the first time, or seen your child win a trophy, you know that some moments are priceless treasures that may never happen again. Be present in the moment and enjoy your family, they won’t be babies forever.
- Survival and multi-tasking go hand in hand
No explanation required, multi-tasking is a skill for life and if it doesn’t come naturally, we suggest you learn.
- Remove negative and toxic influences
Any person or thing that drags you down and consumes your time needs to be fare-welled. Say goodbye nicely, and surround yourself with positive things and people. Learn to, and be confident to say ‘no’ to things you don’t want or need to do.
- Ditch perfectionism
Perfection is an unattainable ideal. Learn to accept ‘almost perfect.’ This takes away a lot of unnecessary pressure at work and in the home.
- Be willing to laugh at yourself
Mistakes happen, make an effort to see the funny side. Have a laugh, learn from them and move on confidently.
- Banish guilt
Once again, being human means allowing space for mistakes. As long as you’re trying your best and learning from stumbling blocks, you’re progressing. Parents, don’t feel bad for your children. They are learning values and work ethic from watching you in your struggles. Research is even starting to show that having two working parents is, in a lot of ways, beneficial for children.
That’s a bit of a list, but we guarantee it will help reduce stress when balancing life outside the office. Remember to prioritise and be kind to yourself. We hope that 2018 is a fantastic and successful year for all our business friends and the families that support them from home.