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Posts Tagged ‘Working parents’

5 Proven Ways to Fight Working-Parent Guilt

The emotional push-pull between home and the office can be painful. Here’s how successful working moms and dads keep life guilt-free.

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Lean On Your Partner

“When my first child was born, people at work would say, ‘How do you come to work and leave your beautiful baby at home?’ I actually had a lot of guilt about how I didn’t feel more guilty I was working. The guilt kicked in when my son learned to talk. He had friends who had moms who were at home, and he wanted to know why I couldn’t pick him up after school. Luckily, I have a really involved partner. At night when the kids are sleeping, we can sit on the sofa and talk about everything that happened that day.”

— Kristy Sekedat, 39, Forensic Scientist in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Say Yes Whenever You Can

“If I have a deadline for a book and my son comes over with a Star Wars figure and says, ‘Dad, will you play with me?’ the answer is always yes. I know that 15 minutes of playing with Star Wars figures will make him so happy. And that helps me with the guilt. I divide my day by the type of tasks I have to do: the ones that require everyone to leave me alone, and the ones I can do while sitting with my family. I do those menial tasks—which a lot of people do during the day—while watching TV with my family. Not wasting a single minute means I get more minutes for them.”

— Matthew Dicks, 47, Fifth-Grade Teacher and Author in Newington, Connecticut

Own Your Choices

“My daughter is almost 1, and any time I spend away from her is time I question inherently. Before I went back to work after she was born, I thought I would feel so guilty every second of the workday, but it turns out I don’t. Anything that makes me feel good about myself as a person makes me a better mom. I have a mantra: ‘I am showing her what a strong woman looks like. I am showing her what it means to have a career I made for myself and built out of nothing.’ She’s still too young to understand, but I like to think she sees it in her own little way.”

—Jamie Stelter, 36, Traffic Anchor for NY1 in New York City

Designate Family Time

“My three kids have grown up coming to work with me, knowing the people I work with and understanding the important things we do. It’s also important to me to build in family time. Every Tuesday night is our night, and that takes priority over anything else. We read a book together, we do a fun activity together, we write down what we’re grateful for, and we pray together. It starts a discussion and gives us a chance to talk about what’s coming up in our week. I enjoy having a life that’s fulfilling at home and in the world. I want to show my kids that my life is bigger than just myself.”

— Yasmin Diallo Turk, 41, Evaluation and Compliance Analyst at the Nonprofit Safe Alliance in Austin, Texas

Create Strong Bonds

“Both my kids started daycare at three months old. I’ve coped with the guilt by breast-feeding them for so long. I breast-fed my first until she was 3, and my youngest is 20 months and I still breast-feed her. Taking my full maternity leave, breast-feeding as long as I can to make sure the bond is there, and spending quality time with them are my ways of not feeling the guilt. I also decided to be a class parent—it has helped me stay involved and get to know the parents of the other kids in the class very well.”

— Ninon Marapachi, 40, Head of Hedge Fund Origination at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City

 

This article was written by Jane Porter from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Ten Ways to Balance Work and Family

If you’re a working parent, achieving and maintaining a healthy work-family balance can be challenging. Here are ten tips to help you balance your work life with your personal one.

  1. Set limits. If you want to see every one of your child’s soccer games and have dinner with your family every night, make those your priorities, no matter what happens at work.
  2. Focus on work when you’re at work. Try to limit non-work-related activities, such as socializing or long lunches. Get your work done so you can leave the office on time.10-26-15
  3. Work from home if you can. Working remotely every now and then allows you to be there for your child and complete your job responsibilities.
  4. Keep a family calendar. Maintaining an organized record of your family’s comings and goings can help you and your family be efficient and ensure your schedules run smoothly.
  5. Adjust your hours. If your company offers flextime and you can adopt a more flexible schedule, do so. If your company doesn’t offer flextime, have a discussion with your supervisor or manager about how a more flexible schedule would help your productivity. After all, a happy employee is a productive employee.
  6. Create a support system. If you’re fortunate enough to have relatives or friends who offer to watch your child while you’re at work, accept their help.
  7. Schedule some “me time.” Taking some time for yourself can help you to refocus so you can be a better parent. Use the time to read, relax or get some exercise.
  8. Plan ahead. Pack lunches or your child’s school bag the night before so you can have some extra family time in the morning. You could also make an extra-large amount of a particular dish over the weekend and serve it for dinner throughout the week so you don’t have to cook.
  9. Stay in touch. A gesture as small as a phone call or text message to your child during the day can let him know you’re thinking about him. You could also drop a note in his backpack or lunch box.
  10. Explore childcare options. Whether you’re interested in a preschool or daycare, a quality childcare program is worth investigating. Research different childcare providers and take your child to visit a few of them to see which one is the best fit.

Survival Tips for Returning to Work

It’s the moment of truth. You are getting ready to go back to work. Maybe your maternity/paternity leave has come to an end or you took time off from your career to be a stay-at-home parent. In these economic times, you may have even been home due to unexpected circumstances. No matter the reason, juggling parenthood while reentering the workforce can be quite the challenge– just getting out the door in the morning can be a logistical nightmare! Here are some survival tips for the savvy parent.

Before You Go Back

A week before you go back to work, wake up at the new time and practice getting everybody ready. Do you need to get yourself ready before the rest of your household wakes? How long do you need? What can your children do while you are getting yourself ready? Will they play in a pack-n-play, feed themselves cereal, take care of their own potty needs or have cuddle time with your spouse? Make it a team effort and brainstorm with your spouse. Get specific about who will pack lunches, feed the children, pour the milk, give the vitamins, etc. Decide whether you will take turns or divvy up the responsibilities. Make sure you each have time to take care of your own needs, too. Hashing all of this out upfront and writing up a schedule will help you to figure out realistically how long it actually takes to get everybody ready in the morning, and then work your timeline backwards from when you’re due at work. Changing diapers, potty time, breakfast, getting dressed and tooth brushing may take a lot longer than you think! And be sure to leave plenty of extra time for traffic or the occasional extra-long good-bye with your child.

Start the Night Before

Pack up everything you and your child need for the next day before you go to bed: diaper bag, lunches, laptop bag, permission slips and bottles. Have the coffeemaker set to have that much needed java brewed and ready. If you weren’t a list maker before you had children, there is no better time than now to start! Jot down even the smallest of details and necessities that need to be packed or prepared. Sticky notes are a working parent’s best friend. Put a small bin in the fridge for each member of your family who packs breakfast, lunch or bottles and label with names.  Fill each bin with all lunch box items so in the morning you can just transfer the contents of each into a thermal bag with ice packs, etc. If something can’t be pre-packed, jot down a note and stick it in the bin so you know at a glance what is missing in the morning mayhem. Choose outfits the night before—if you are super savvy, you might even check the weather and select your children’s outfits for the whole week!

Back to the Grind

You may be shocked at how busy you will be when you go back to work. Plan time before or after work to spend with your children so you don’t feel like you are missing the details. Ease up on the idea of keeping the house clean 24/7. Your children won’t remember if the house was always sparkling clean or not, but they will remember the quality of the time they spent with you. Maximize your lunch breaks: go on a quick walk to boost your energy levels and be sure to pack healthful snacks. You may find it energizing to be back at work—you may be filled with new ideas, and be excited to spend your day with grown-ups! Don’t feel bad about leaving the office as soon as your workday officially ends–parenthood has taught you to be decidedly efficient, and to get more accomplished in less time. And, be sure to get as much sleep as possible–no matter how prepared and organized you are, going back to work and still maintaining a productive household can be exhausting!

You Deserve a Reward!

After all of the planning, organizing and hard work it takes to go back to the grind while also creating a happy and healthy work-life balance, treat yourself! Plan that rewarding lunchtime mani/pedi, a happy hour with your BFF or schedule some Saturday morning cuddle time with the little ones. You deserve it, and it will help reenergize you so you can do it all again next week.