Parents 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 counsellors, health consultants, social convenors, conflict managers and cooks – just to name a few. Most parents lack 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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Have regular family meetings to air concerns, work out problems, delegate chores and responsibilities and evaluate your home/life action plan
- 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
- Continue to build your relationship with your parenting partner and align family values to communicate to your children
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
About the Author:
Dyan Eybergen, BA, RN is a nationally recognized parent educator and a recipient of a Mom’s Choice Award for her book Out of the Mouths of Babes: Parenting from a Child’s Perspective. She is a frequent guest expert on CTV South Western Ontario’s Health and Lifestyle and Edmonton’s CTV News at Noon. You can find her on the Web at www.dyaneybergen.com.