New Age Parenting: How to Strike a Balance at Work and Home
24 Sep 2016
Half a century ago, family roles were clear and simple, with fathers being the breadwinners and mothers staying at home, cooking, taking care of the household chores and most importantly their children. However, more educated dads and stay at home mums is no longer the norm!
With the high economic needs and gender equalization especially in the urban cities, single income families barely exist. Most families nowadays have a minimum of two earning hands with both the partners having a full time job.
This often leaves us with the question on how to balance work and family?
Striking that ideal work/family balance is something that all parents grapple with. Juggling between childrearing responsibilities and the constant demands of work, is a never ending stress that takes a toll on many parents’ personal and professional lives. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (2007) over 50% of all employees report that job demands interfere with their personal responsibilities, while 43% of employees say that their family responsibilities interfere with their work performance.
Yet many people are left feeling guilty of not giving good parenting to their child. Like most others, have you also felt guilty about going for work leaving your little one alone?
Neena, a senior executive in one of the MNCs in Gurgaon explained, “I loved my work until my child was born and grew tremendously in my career, but now even though I still love my job, after having a baby i feel terrible leaving him child to the day care. Because of this even though I still go to office neither am I at work (mentally) nor am I with my child (physically)”.
The situation Neena described is a very common dilemma most young parents face. The dilemma been further reinforced by the social pressures. This often leaves them with the question should both parents work or not?
While we all know the ill- effects of having both parents working, (such as lack of time for children, letting the children feel ignored etc) there exists a number of potential positives too. For instance, having the child go to a day care widens his social skills which otherwise would have been confined to simply his parents. Research also suggests that children with both parents working are often more independent as compared to their peers who have are under constant parental supervision. Further working parents often assign chores and teach responsibility without nagging or yelling. They establish clear consequences and aren’t afraid to follow through with them. They role model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment, which may be beneficial in the long run versus answering to all their demands.
However, the above may not be the case with all children with working parents. The key is how you balance work and parenting.
While managing a career and family leaves some parents feeling guilty and frazzled, others seem to be able to effortlessly balance parenthood with full-time work. Parents who are able to raise well-adjusted children while also maintaining a career have to make sacrifices in order to keep the peace.
Some of the tips that can help you and your child develop better include:
1. Time Management:
While there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and meet everyone’s needs, it is essential to manage your time effectively. We often get overwhelmed with the demands at home and work and hence, are unable to devote time to both! Thus, It is always beneficial for working parents to set time- tables for themselves and stick to them. Having an organized schedule mostly helps parents balance the time they spend at work and the time they spend with their child.
2. Do not carry work home:
Often, we’re tempted to work until late or take work home because a deadline is coming or because we missed a few hours at work chatting with a friend. While doing this occasionally is fine, making a habit of it is definitely a no-no. It’s always good to remember, you work to provide for your family but that doesn’t give you an excuse to spend all your waking hours working. Hence, time management is the key. By being more organized and learning how to manage your time effectively, you can still be very productive while at the same time, be there for your family
3. Choose flexible work- timings if possible
Regardless of where they are in their careers, working couples have a tough time achieving balance between work and family. Generally, mothers take on or are given more responsibility for their homes than are men, leading to frustration and exhaustion. However, nowadays with concept of New Age Daddy, we may see it either ways. Working all day and then coming home to a young child can be difficult, at best. You've put all your energy into doing your job well — answering to your boss's, co-workers', clients', and employees' demands. The last thing you may feel like doing is answering to your child's questions. Hence, especially parents with young kids, could resolve this by trying to cut your hours and work part-time. You may also work as a temporary employee, which would allow you to choose when you want to work. These two options may not be financially feasible for your family. You can ask your employer if you can work a flexible work schedule or perhaps work from home.
4. Avoid Burnout
Throughout your workday, fit some relaxing moments into your routine. Close your office door for 10 minutes, shut your eyes and perform a relaxation exercise. Or during your coffee breaks, forgo coffee and doughnuts and take a short walk instead. Diversions like these can reduce stress, improve efficiency on the job, and make you feel more vitalized when you return home in the evening, thus creating a more amicable family life. Also, If you regularly come home tired, try to develop rituals that improve your frame of mind when you arrive home. This may mean spending some time by yourself in order to put a distance between you and the day's stresses. Coming home is an important moment that should be taken seriously. Your children are eager to be with you and to share their day's experiences.
5. Barter Responsibilities
Successful parents don’t necessarily depend on others, but are often willing to trade favors. For example, you may ask for help driving the kids to soccer practice in exchange for taking over weekend carpool duties for other busy families. When parents arrange for assistance that ensures their kids are being cared for, they’re able to be more productive at work.
6. Spend Quality Time with your Child
Once you are back home spend quality time with your child. Such as make sure none of the gadgets such as your phone or laptop are around you, do joint activities with your child such as play a game or cover the books etc. Make sure to ask the child about their day as a lot may have happened which they want to share and always hear all ears to your child. Lastly, have atleast one meal with your child irrespective of the child’s age and spend some time alone prior to bedtime.
7. Divide Responsibilities
For parents with younger children, responsibilities should be divided equally such as dropping and picking up the child from the day care, feeding the child mid-night , changing nappies etc. While for parents with older kids, involve the entire family in the evening responsibilities that are such a drain on your time and energy. For example, the family can work together to clean up the kitchen after dinner; with everyone's help it will get done much quicker and free up some time for you in the evening. Do the same on the weekends too: If the house needs cleaning, have everyone pitch in on Saturday morning; this will help build family cohesiveness while finishing the job faster, thus leaving more time for enjoyable family activities.
8. Spend some “Me” Time
On the weekends, schedule some relaxation time for yourself. Go for a walk or go to the gym. Do some recreational reading. While family time is important and certain chores need to be done, time to unwind and recharge your own batteries is essential too.
Hence, by taking a few steps as mentioned above you will be able to balance your work and child better!
However, if you still notice some changes in your child’s behavior or notice your child being too cranky or throwing more tantrums than before, don’t blame yourself or leave your job, instead speak to a psychologist, since there may be some other underlying issues!
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Tags: #parenting #balance