Top Tips for Maintaining a Good Work/Life Balance as a Working Parent

Top Tips for Maintaining a Good Work/Life Balance as a Working Parent

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Top Tips for Maintaining a Good Work/Life Balance as a Working Parent
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Being a parent is a full-time job and working on top means tackling two different roles that unintentionally overlap at times and may cause stress and, sometimes, depression.

I am a full-time stay-at-home mum of two boys aged three and four years old. I also run a parenting magazine, which I work on at night when the boys are in bed. I get little sleep and no rest. In fact, one of the hardest things I have to do most nights is to slip out of parent mode and put on my business hat, especially when I’ve wound down during the kids’ bedtime routine and my husband comes home from work in chill out/switch off mode. Oh, how I wish I could join him sometimes, not because I don’t love my job, I really do. I work my own hours, I make my own decisions and I help take some of the financial pressure off my husband. But, over the four years, I have learned some life-changing and fundamental lessons, largely through trial and error and running into business opportunities half blind.

One of the hardest lessons that I had to learn quite quickly was how to organise my time between the kids and my work. If I hadn’t made this lesson a priority, I either would have collapsed from physical exhaustion or a mental breakdown. So, here are my top tips for maintaining a good work/life balance as a working parent.

Divide your time between your work and your kids and don’t let them overlap

Image by Patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I wake up about an hour before the kids (not all days) and check my emails whilst having my coffee. Then, when the kids are up, I put my laptop away and I don’t look at it again until the kids are in bed. If I find myself with a spare 15 minutes during the day, I’m on top of the cleaning and the kids are 100% occupied, I may read and respond to important emails on my phone, but that’s as far as I will go when it comes to work. That way, I’m 100% present with my kids during waking hours and I’m 100% present at work when they go to sleep. Unfortunately, this may mean that I’m behind on work and emails generally as I only get between approximately 8.30pm and 2am to catch up (yeah, I don’t sleep much).

It took me a while, actually, to really cut off from work during the day, but doing it this way means I won’t wake up feeling super guilty that I haven’t spent enough time with my kids. Soon, they will grow up and school will take them away. My working days will come back and I’ll get to relax again in the evenings. But, for now, I need to enjoy my babies whole-heartedly without the added stress of work until night time.

And, vice versa for parents working away from home. Making sure you’re 100% present at work during the day will mean you come home and be 100% there for your kids.

Organise your work so you can start your working period more efficiently

A good start would be to unsubscribe from the junk you see in your emails that you never ever read. If your Outlook looks anything like mine where it is populated with lots of emails from newsletters that I subscribed to because I enjoyed reading something interesting on the website a while ago, then it’s time to hit ‘unsubscribe’. Section off about 15 minutes during your work period and go through the ‘unsubscribe’ process for every waste email. That way, you’ll be able to fire off responses to the more important emails coming through and become more efficient at reading and responding to emails.

Allow online platforms to do some of the admin work for you

Some websites like Hiive and LinkedIn are awesome for networking and finding business. As long as you’ve set up your profile properly and added your skills, talents and work experience, allow these websites to find you business without you having to scour the internet for them. This saves you so much time and allows you to focus on the other tasks on your to do list. Hiive is more of a creative platform, so if you have a creative business, this website would be perfect for you.

Talk to your kids about what you do

Image by Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From time to time, I like to talk to my boys about some of the work I do and ask them to give me ideas on how I could make certain things better on a particular project. You’ll be amazed at how children’s perspectives can make you see things from a whole new angle. But, not only that, your kids will get to know you better and you will get to know them better.

Talk to your partner about what you do

Same point applies for your partner. If you work during the evening, like I do, sometimes your partner may feel left out. Or, it’s been a while since you’ve spent any real time together. Talking to your partner about what work you have going on at the moment and the deadlines you have been faced with, will give them a better understanding of the pressure you are under and may even be able to offer some helpful advice and support. And, vice versa, be there for your partner if they have any issues at work.

So, those are my top tips. There are many, many more, but these are the main points that I’ve implemented in my own life to ensure a healthy work/life balance. You can find some more great tips over at Mommy Authority too, as well as, of course, Motherhood Diaries!

Please comment below for your top tip on maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

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Leyla Preston (533 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 5, and Aidan, 4. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/