Author: Holly Noon, SHRM-CP
If you’re a parent and work as an employee or for yourself, then you’re well aware that it can be difficult to find balance. Finding that balance can bring on so many emotions and stress. You start to wonder is it possible to juggle everything at once, or maybe put certain goals on hold. Let’s be honest at times we fail at finding the balance and other times we are successful at juggling everything at once.
This article outlines tips that have been beneficial to me in finding balance as a single mom of two young children, a manager in corporate manager, and starting my HR consulting business at the same time. From personal experience, there are days I’m exhausted and can’t wait to be in bed asleep. The rest of the time I’m proud of myself because I found a system that works and allows me to accomplish personal and professional goals while raising two kids.
The first tip I’ve lived by since my oldest daughter was born is to create a schedule and stay consistent with it. Children thrive on structure and stability, as they will have clear expectations of what will come next in the day whether that be nap time or dinner. If you outline your day this helps with time management and staying focused on the tasks at hand. For example, I make sure my kids are in bed no later than 8 P.M. on weeknights so from about 8 P.M. to 10 P.M. I can work on tasks related to my business or taking care of myself by getting in an at-home workout.
The next tip that I highly recommend, is setting boundaries between work and your personal life. It’s key to managing your time and making commitments to where you don’t put too much on yourself. As a single mother, entrepreneur, and manager, I have been realistic about what I can commit to at work because I also need to be present for my children and have an active social life myself. It’s imperative you feel comfortable having an open dialogue with your boss about your scheduling and flexibility needs. Being able to communicate your needs will help with boundaries and provide insights to your boss so they can support your success in finding the balance. If you’re in the market for a new job, ask ahead of time about flex schedule options, working remote, or how does time off work when it comes to personal commitments. Asking these questions allows you to determine if the company will be the right fit for you professionally and personally.
The final tip I have is as a parent and working professional we need to take care of ourselves! As parents, we need to make sure we are making time in our schedules to make sure we are a priority. We need to make sure we are still living our best life and allow time for hobbies, continuing education, and maintaining our health just to name a few. I know it can be difficult to find time just to remember to eat or talk ourselves out of doing something. If we don’t prioritize our needs it makes it harder for us to be whole for the people we need to support.
Remember finding the balance is possible, and identifying what your work/life balance needs are, to begin with, will guide achieving the optimal balance for you and your family.