More than 50 million people in the US alone are currently navigating a career while raising their children. Of those working professionals, 65% state that their daily juggling act is a genuine struggle.
In the UK and Europe, the story is more or less the same. In fact, in the UK, the demands of juggling work and parenting, coupled with the rising costs of childcare causes anxiety in 84% of modern households.
Balancing the demands of parenting with the pressures of a career is no easy feat, even for the most resilient among us. But, by tackling the primary challenges associated with the parent-work life balance and developing healthy processes, it is possible.
We know how you feel. And, to help you navigate the overwhelming task of raising children while maintaining a successful career, we’re going to look at the primary challenges faced by working parents and how you can develop initiatives for sustainable wellbeing.
Before we look at the methods and initiatives required to juggle your parental and professional life, it’s important to consider the main roadblocks to success — starting with the gravity of change.
Becoming a parent in any situation is rewarding, yet incredibly challenging. And, if you have a demanding career, it’s a period of transition that requires an enormous level of adaptability. Shifting priorities, changing schedules and focusing on new areas of life are incredibly challenging, particularly in those early years.
Prior to parenthood, you may have seen yourself solely as a professional individual with career-focused skills and personal passions or hobbies. While this part of you remains, when you become a working mother or father, these traits will no longer solely define you. Many working parents experience an identity crisis as they attempt to succeed in their career while simultaneously being a mentor to their children.
When you’re a working parent not everyone will understand your demands, worries, and challenges first-hand. That said, if you’re struggling or you require a certain level of flexibility in your professional schedule, getting people to understand your plight or ‘buy-in’ can prove challenging.
Now that we’ve established the common roadblocks present in working parents lives, let’s look at ways you can overcome these issues while also establishing harmony and balance.
While not everyone in your personal or professional life will understand your situation, if you manage expectations, you will prevent friction from occurring.
At the beginning of every week, look at your digital schedule and colour code your activities according to parental commitments and work-based tasks. Always be honest about your limitations and share your schedule with relevant people or stakeholders to offer complete transparency about your movements.
Not only will people have clear-cut information based on your delivery deadlines but by being transparent, if something unexpected comes up, everyone involved will be happier to help you work towards a viable resolution.
Mentally map your days
While you might be tired (chronically so), wake up 10 minutes early each morning. Sit in bed and centre your mind. With a clear head, physically visualise each main segment of your day, thinking about the actions you can take to streamline your various movements and activities.
For instance, in the morning, you might have to conduct a small amount of ‘admin’ in order to get yourself and your children ready before preparing breakfast and leaving the house.
After mentally mapping each activity, you might see that by surveying what tasks lie ahead of you, then getting yourself ready, setting the breakfast table before getting your children ready, is the best course of action. This notion applies to every aspect of your day—and it will save you time.
Framing, framing, framing
Framing is an approach that combines the art of managing expectations and mapping out your days.
To frame your various work and parental activities, you must imagine putting yourself inside a four-sided box (or frame) of considerations: priorities, next steps, commitment, and enthusiasm.
Based on this notion, framing works by merging your priorities, next steps, commitments, and enthusiasms both logically and seamlessly while communicating your intentions positively with others.
For example, if you’re at work and you need to carry out the afternoon school run, you should remind your colleagues that you’re heading out for two hours to pick up your children and you look forward to continuing with the project when you return.
You will notice that with a fluid framing approach, you have:
“You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.” —Marissa Mayer of Yahoo
Juggling work and parenting isn’t easy, but by adopting the right mindset and following our survival kit, you will succeed today, tomorrow, and long into the future.
For more inspirational insights, read about Why Learning to Deal With Failure Can Fuel Future Success.