“The world’s a stage. Life is an act… Just a balancing act.”
Balancing work and parenting or vice-versa is no cakewalk is one fact that many working parents will attest to. Getting pulled into different directions at once, along with making difficult choices on an everyday basis may eventually lead to fatigue. And honestly, there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of solutions for managing both work and parenting duties effectively.
In this article, we will cover:
The book, The Work/Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder, written by a parenting expert Anita Cleare, lists three elements that a working parent needs to have in order to become a happy working parent. Anita Cleare is an accredited Triple P® parenting coach. They are as follows:
To become a happy working parent, parents also need to understand some common challenges faced by working parents. These will help you understand what you could do to get one step closer to being a happy working parent. The book, The Work/Parent Switch…, by Anita Cleare, describes these challenges as ‘parenting holes’ that most parents get stuck in, time after time. They are as follows:
Since the time allotted to children is limited in nature, it subsequently creates the pressure on parents to ensure that children feel special or happy during this time. Though it seems like a natural way of thinking, it is rather unrealistic. Parents may wish to recreate for their children all the special moments that they have experienced in their childhood. during this rather short timespan. However, things do not always go as planned with children, which then leads to disappointment and self-blame.
Setting effective boundaries and limits are essential for children to thrive. The aforementioned lack of time and a desire for happy time with children may lead parents to do whatever they can to avoid conflict at that moment. This could also be fuelled further if the parents think that they are not spending enough time with their children due to work. It may get them temporary happy moments with children but in the long term, it will prove to be detrimental. Parents need to stick to the boundaries however difficult it may be. Always remember that children tend to misbehave and break rules because they are children, and that it has very little to do with you going to work.
Every parent knows that consistency is the key with children. Parents need to remember that being consistent is hard on some days and relatively easier on other days. This consistency depends on how relaxed and well rested you are. The book does mention a limit test to figure out if your child is baffled with inconsistency at home but thrives under routine: “Is your child well-behaved at school and a handful at home? Does the school teacher look at you with disbelief when you mention your child’s behaviour at home?”
Being consistent with your child does not mean that you pick on your child for every improper thing they do. When parents have limited time with their children, cramming children with instruction all the time is not uncommon. It is often a result of wanting to pack all the parenting in that limited time. It could lead children to believe that bad behaviour gets the parent’s attention and good behaviour gets unnoticed. We do not want the children to think like that, hence, it is important to pick your battles as a happy working parent.
Most parents say that they are having problems with their child, and not with their parenting style. This negative labelling of children happens when parents overthink about the child’s negative behaviour, without seeing the role that they themselves play in it. The solution is to make key changes in the parental approach in order to get different and more positive results with respect to the child’s behaviour.
Even when there are no set answers to balancing work and parenting, picking your battles can help ease a lot of stress. Finding out the challenges you are facing and taking measures to overcome them can be the first step towards a balanced life.
Have you ever struggled to strike a balance between work and parenting? Do you have any tips that you can share with your fellow parents? Do leave a comment below or drop a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!
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