Balancing work and family commitments
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey (Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Working when you have young children
There’s a real balancing act when it comes to working at a workplace and having a young family. There’s a big expectation for parents to perform and be available at work, whilst giving their time and energy to creating a stable and loving environment at home. So how do you do both and keep everyone happy?
It’s all about balance, setting limits, and boundaries in both camps.
“Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it’s a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.” – Joshua Osenga
Organising your workplace priorities
It’s important to have strong boundaries and make your employers aware of your family commitments. There can be room for both and neither should be at the expense of the other.
This means you need to be realistic and super organised when you are at work, making the most of your valuable time when you are there to be productive. Schedule meetings and administrative tasks to suit your time at work, accounting for when you arrive and when you leave for your ‘other important job’.
Top tips for finding a healthy work/life balance
- Change your working habits to suit your lifestyle and family commitments. Perhaps it’s adjusting your hours or where you are based. Can you work from home or have a more flexible arrangement, such as job sharing or reducing your hours?
- Create boundaries and learn to say no. Whether it’s at work or home, ensure you can mentally and physically do what you are being asked.
- Provide time just for you and your child, whether it’s playtime, dinner time, or bedtime, and build it into your daily routine.
- Block out time in your diary so that it’s clear to your work colleagues when you are available, noting your arrival and departure times so that you don’t get held up when you need to be with your family.
- Make time for yourself, practicing self-care, so you can be there for work and your family, without running around ragged and becoming exhausted.
- Don’t over-compensate with structured activities for your child every waking moment. It’s exhausting for you and your child. Allow some free time for creativity and relaxation. Your child will benefit and so will you, with time, energy, and money!
- Pack lunches at night time or early in the morning before waking up any children. Batch cook at the weekends or prepare slow-cooked meals the night before, to put on when you leave for work the next day.
- Schedule a regular ‘takeaway’ night when you know you have a lot on or when you are likely to get tired such as a Friday night. Have freezer meals available for when you’re sick or looking after a sick child and you just don’t have the time or energy to cook. Another idea is to have a weekly ‘supper night’ with sandwiches and leftovers, or cheese toasties. The family will love it and it’s less fuss and very little washing up!
- Get organised. Plan your week ahead using a family calendar of appointments, a weekly meal plan, and play dates.
- Do online grocery shopping and arrange to pay bills automatically so you don’t have to worry if you miss the pay-by date because you had other competing priorities.
- Schedule movie evenings at home with popcorn and nibbles for all the family, or date nights where you and your partner go out or you go out as a family.
- Entrust your child to an Early Education Centre, with a secure and caring environment that’s educational and will prepare them for school. Early Education at St Joseph’s Family Services in Port Macquarie is a great start!
St Joseph’s Family Services Programs
Our family services are a great solution for working families but also for those who just want to have some time out. Plus the educational, physical, and social side of our Early Education Centres is beneficial to your child.
For more information, please get in touch with us.