Ten tips for integrating parenthood with your career

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Cosmic Kitty

Striking the right balance between career and family life is a struggle for millions of people – and at a time when there’s such widespread financial uncertainty, it’s a problem more and more of us are currently having to face. Co-operative employee benefits, such as Midcounties Co-operative childcare vouchers, can help to ease some of the strain. Nevertheless, the demands of work frequently intrude on our family life, which makes it even hard to get that balance right. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you don’t just have enough time to face the duties of your work, but also that you don’t simply neglect your family. Here are ten suggestions you might wish to bear in mind if you’re having trouble maintaining that equilibrium between work and family life.

1)      As Todd Smith writes, the most important thing you need to do in advance is set out clear career goals and ensure you have the support of your family in advance. Your family needs to be aware of what sacrifices all of you will have to make so that they know what to expect. It would be unfair for you to keep them in the dark about this. It’s best to be honest and up front from the start.

2)      Careful scheduling can help you maintain a healthier balance between work and family life. Obviously, there will be times when you find yourself so overloaded with work that it becomes tempting to let it encroach on your family time. However, this would be a mistake – and once you’ve done it once, it becomes tempting to do it repeatedly. Maintain that separation between work and leisure time.

3)      When spending time with your family, don’t answer work e-mails or phone calls. Cut yourself off from work entirely and make sure you give your family the attention they need and deserve.

4)      By the same token, you should avoid allowing your family to interrupt your time at work except in emergencies. Make sure you lay down the law and let them know what when you’re busy working, you’re not to be disturbed.

5)      According to WikiHow, it’s important to establish your priorities in order to strike the appropriate balance between parenthood and pursuing a career. You should be prepared for conflicting demands on your time – for instance, your children may be ill at a time when you’re expected to work – so it’s important to consider this possibility in advance and work out what you would do in such situations.

6)      If spare time appears in your schedule unexpectedly, take full advantage of it and spend time with your family. This doesn’t mean you should wilfully neglect your work duties, but don’t feel obliged to work when you don’t actually need to.

7)      Being able to manage your time effectively is crucial to balancing work and family life. The better organised you are, the chances are you’ll have more time to spend with those closest to you. This should leave you feeling generally less stressed.

8)      If you do have concerns about the imbalance between work and family life, discuss them openly with your partner and the rest of your family. Simply bottling things up is only likely to cause more hassle in the long run.

9)      According to Careerealism.com, you should be clear on what your employer expects of you – but don’t be afraid to stand up to your boss if you feel they’re taking advantage. You should be able to discuss the balance between work and family openly with your employer. A good employer will show some understanding in this regard.

10)  Socialising with workmates is also a good way to unwind at the end of a busy working week. Make sure, however, that your family knows when you’re planning to spend time with colleagues. Don’t just leave them in the lurch.

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