We as working parents today assume many roles - employee, husband, father, wife and mother. We often ask ourselves this question "work first or family first?" There are different answers to this question. For some, the answer is "work first" and for others it is "family first". Our answers are largely depending on what we want to achieve in lives. It is not surprising for a career orientated person who is constantly looking for career advancement to put work first and on the other hand, a family orientated person will put family first. Work provides us with financial security and a sense of fulfillment. Family gives us emotional support, a sense of love and belonging. Therefore, it is important for us to strike a balance between work and family.
"How to juggle between work and family" is a question that commonly asked by us. With the 24 hours that we have a day and with at least 8 hours a day we spend on our job, it is quite difficult for us to juggle between work and family in order to achieve a balance. The following are some tips to achieve a work and family balance.
1. Get a job that is less demanding
First and foremost, it is important for us to land on a "family friendly" job. What is a "family friendly" job? A "family friendly" job is a job that is not too demanding, less busy, less stressful, and less traveling and which allows us to spend more time with our family. A demanding job will leave us too tired both mentally and physically at the end of the day.
If our job is too demanding we can consider switching to a job that is more relaxing and flexible but still offers the level of income that can sustain our living comfortably.
In addition, it is good to have an understanding boss who understands our needs for our family. An understanding boss will be more empathy, considerate and sensitive. Therefore it is important to have open communication with our boss making sure that our boss knows our needs.
2. Grab free time that we have every day
Our free time within a day can be divided into:
a. Pre work hour
b. After work hour
a. Pre work hour
Pre work hour refers to the time between waking up and before going to work. We can spend quality time with our family during this time. Start our day by waking up early and taking shower. There are many things that we can do to bond with our children like doing brushing and having breakfast together. We can help our children get changed and get them ready for school. If time allowed, we can send our children to school. While sending our children to school, there is opportunity for us to talk to our children and to bond with them.
b. After work hour
Remember to leave our work on time after work hour if there is no urgent work for us to be finished. We should relax ourselves as much as possible when we are at home after work and do not bring tension from work to home. Always leave our work problem at work. If possible, switch off our mobile phone and do not entertain any work related phone call unless it is really urgent and important.
Some of us may need to entertain clients after work. Even so, we should try to be home for dinner as much as possible. Having family dinner together is the best time to bond with our children. While having dinner with our children, we can generate conversation and know how they are doing on that day. This is a way to increase and improve communication between family members.
After dinner and after all the cleaning, we can help our children with their homework and revision. Helping our children with their homework enables us to know how our children are doing in school. In addition, it also helps our children to better cope with their schoolwork.
While putting our children to bed, we can bond with our children by reading them some bedtime stories. It also helps to cultivate interest in reading among our children.
After our children go to bed, it is our time to relax ourselves and to spend some quality time with our spouse such as chatting, exchanging ideas, watching TV together and etc.
Remember to be in bed on time and to get enough sleep. We should have at least 8 hour of sleep a day.
3. Spend quality time during weekend
Weekend enables us to make up time lost during weekdays with our children. It is important to have family day during weekend where we can spend some quality time together as a family doing family activities such as doing household chores, cooking, reading, doing craft work, playing cards, going to libraries, doing sport, eating out, going for a movie, talking a stroll, etc. These family activities will assist to improve our communication with our children.
4. Take leave for emergency and school activities
When our children fall sick, we should take time off from our work to care for our children. When our children are having examination, we can take annual leave to help our children to revise their studies to better equip them for the examination. It is important to take some time off from our work to attend school activities like school sport days, parent and teacher meeting, outing, etc.
5. Celebrate special occasion together as a family
Remember to celebrate our children birthday and spouse birthday as a family. There are many ways that we can celebrate birthday such as having a party, going for movie, eating out, etc. Remembering and celebrating the birthday of our children and spouse will make them feel important and appreciated. This will enhance the loving relationship between family members.
In addition, we can also celebrate special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc. By celebrating these special occasions together, we will be able to enjoy the holiday together as a family. In addition, it also provides an us opportunity to introduce the significance and value of the special occasions to our children.
6. Going for trip as a family
It is important to go for a trip as a family. We can take some annual leave during summer holiday and go for trip with our children as a family. This not only enables us to spend quality time with our family and it also gives us a chance to broaden our horizon. It enables us to relax, rejuvenate and to get away from the hustle and bustle of work for a while.
7. Share work together
Remember we are not super men or super women, therefore it is important to share work or divide work with your spouse. There must be sufficient communication and understanding between spouses. Husband and wife should always be a team that support each other and complement each other. Therefore, husband and wife should always go hand in hand in rising children and doing household chores. Do not leave parenting or domestic duties with only one spouse. It is important to come out with a plan that who will do what. We have to be flexible in sharing work.
8. Have time for ourselves
It is important to have time for ourselves out of the busy day to do some exercise or simply to relax. Make sure that we have enough sleep daily.
Being able to juggle between work and family makes our lives less stressful and more meaningful.