The work/life balance feels elusive to all of us. So much pressure is placed on climbing the career ladder and earning money that it’s hard to imagine a life where work isn’t the sole focus of one’s day. What happens then, when children enter the equation? Should one parent stay home, or should both mother and father go back to work and send their kids to daycare?
Many parents don’t have a choice. Others will feel that their work is who they are and that giving up would be detrimental to their wellbeing. Some will argue the very valid point that pre-school education is better for children than staying at home. Needless to say, it has never been more difficult for parents to balance the demands of work with the care of young children, so here are three tips to help you cope.
Lose the Guilt
There are pros and cons to parenting in all forms: stay at home parents – part-time working parents, full-time working parents – and you’d probably feel like you were doing something wrong whichever path you chose. Whatever your situation, try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. Going to work sets a great example for your kids, even if you’re only doing it to pay the bills. Working also means you probably have more money for things like days out, trips to the cinema and new toys, which your children will appreciate. Let’s not ignore the fact that you may be a better mother or father because you’re tending to both aspects of who you are: the professional and the parent. This is perhaps the most sizeable benefit of all.
Find Exceptional Childcare
Sending your kids to a nursery you trust will alleviate some of those guilty feelings – especially when you see what a great time your child is having and how much they are learning. Find a nursery like the early years department at Akeley Wood School, which offers private, independent care tailored to each every group in a creative and well-structured environment. If you work full-time, look for a facility that provides wraparound care so your child can stay for the whole day: this usually covers the hours between 8 am and 6 pm and includes meals and nap times.
Despite what you might see on Instagram or in glossy magazines, the perfect parent (just like the perfect life, the perfect home or the perfect partner) does not exist. Accept that you won’t get everything right all of the time, and that sometimes your work or home life will suffer the consequences. Learn to forgive yourself for your errors in judgment, your mistakes and your pitfalls, in both areas of your life, and you’re setting a great example for your child. There is evidence to suggest that perfectionist attitudes in parents can actually be harmful to children, so teach your child that “perfect” simply doesn’t exist by challenging your negative self-talk. Heed your own words when telling your child she can only do her best. This sentiment could (and should) be applied to your situation, too.