Do you know what’s not fun? It’s not fun juggling work and parenting, especially when you’re up against the wall on balancing sleep, time, and energy. The key to surviving the day-to-day with kids is knowing how to get your act together amidst the chaos. If you’re an overwhelmed working parent, we are about to deliver some good news: it’s possible to be more efficient while spending more quality time with your children. The best part is you will still get stuff done!
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Get specific about the things you cannot give up. If it’s playtime with your child, carve out some time every day to play with them—even if it requires taking some time off from work or not going to bed until midnight. If you spend a few hours playing with your kids, it will pay off exponentially in the long run.
It would help if you took time for yourself, or things would start to fall apart. If you don’t, you’ll soon begin to resent your kids if things aren’t running smoothly, and that hostility will seep into your relationship. There’s no magic formula for carving out time for yourself. Do what works best for you, and it is non-negotiable too.
One of the easiest ways to save time is to let someone else do the work for you. Using a home delivery service that provides healthy meals and snacks can be a lifesaver. As much as we’d like to whip up the perfect family dinner every night, sometimes we don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal from scratch.
Most of us have one or two kid-free hours in the morning before we rush out the door. Instead of losing this time to Facebook, take a load of laundry to the laundromat and get it done. This way, you’ll have clean clothes for the week, and you won’t have to worry about doing laundry during the week.
If you’ve ever had children, then you know those boredom moments. It’s a rare occasion when you catch and release those moments, but they’re worth recording. For example, I had a rare Saturday morning at home with my son the other day. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting: the sun was shining, he was coloring, I had a cup of coffee in one hand and the newspaper in another. It was all so lovely until my daughter woke up.
Eating healthy is expensive. If you can clean out your house by buying more groceries and cooking more meals at home, you’ll have less to spend on takeout. It means more time to spend with your children. It’s a win-win situation.
It’s easy to feel guilty about using technology at work when your family isn’t around, but it’s a necessary evil when running a business. Being connected to the office via phone, Skype, email, and even phone messages can improve productivity.
This one is for those of you who work in the arts. If you need any reminders of what you are truly missing in your life when you are working, then think about the fantastic things you might be missing. For example, children could be doing things instead of sitting still in a room full of adults doing nothing but talking about “important” things.
Working parents will never have the same experience as those without children. We must deal with more hassles and a lot less sleep to make it all work, but the payoff is worth the sacrifice.