Balancing Home and Work

eybergen-mouthofbabesParents of today who are busy pursuing a career, maintaining a home and raising children face a complex balancing act. Parents wear many “hats” on a daily basis: they act as coaches, teachers, chauffeurs, guidance counselors, health consultants, social conveyors, conflict managers and cooks – just to name a few. Most parents lack in adequate organizational experience to prepare them for such diverse roles. This means, parents must learn to work together to establish a plan of action for keeping things in balance and then communicate and reinforce this plan so that everyone in the family will respect and benefit from it.

Here are 10 easy tips for developing a home/life balance plan of action:

  1. Get organized! Use calendars, menu planners, chore lists, day timers, computer programs or whatever else will help you to put together a schedule for using your time wisely.
  2. Prioritize necessities at home and work and communicate expectations to family members. Together, establish goals for keeping home activities running smoothly and gain a commitment from family members to work toward each goal in a timely manner.
  3. Put some variety into your family life. Start planning family outings, theme nights, or projects you can work on together to re-establish quality family time.
  4. Have regular family meetings to air concerns, work out problems, delegate chores and responsibilities and evaluate your home/life action plan.
  5. Make exercise a regular part of your family’s lifestyle – go on bike rides together, walk or hike, take an exercise class (they even have combined classes for parents and babies now). The health benefits are enormous, not to mention how exercise boosts energy and morale.
  6. Continue to build your relationship with your parenting partner and align family values to communicate to your children.
  7. Set clear boundaries for your work life by not answering text, phone or email messages after hours and let the office know you will respond only during office hours.
  8. Kids have stress too and research shows that over scheduling extracurricular activities is a contributing factor. Limit the amount of activities your children are involved in; one or two evenings out a week should be the maximum.
  9. Teach children to recognize the signs of stress that being too busy can cause and model that behaviour by taking time out for yourself to relax.
  10. A working parenting partner needs time and space to do things on his or her own, away from the other parent. Unless this is clearly defined and honoured by both parties, balance for either parent may be impossible to achieve.

Dyan Eybergen, a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse, has more than ten years experience working as a therapist and parent educator. Eybergen currently resides in St. Albert, Alberta, with her husband and three sons. Out of the Mouths of Babes is her first book. For more information visit www.www.dyaneybergen.com.

One Response to Balancing Home and Work

  1. Paige on January 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Dyan, Thank you for all of your wonderful insight.  I was having a tough time managing all of my many hats as well recently and took to the recommendations of my loved ones… and what did I find?  I was simply missing some way to organize it all!  I have taken all of your brilliant ideas, some working for our family and some I adjusted to fit and found an organizational tool to help manage my home/life.  It is called CalendarCruncher.com. It has allowed me to breath a deep sigh of relief to know that i have started to balance my hectic life and at the same time i can share it all with my loved ones, friends, and those at work!!  Thanks again!

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