Being a parent is a blessing. It is a feeling beyond explanation. One does not know the feeling of giving birth to a child and see them grow unless they experience it.
Every couple wants to be the best parents. They want to support and help their child in every way possible. All parents want to give everything to their children. Parenthood is also a tiring and stressful task, but it is all worth it when you see your child doing great in life because of the values you inculcated in them.
Different couples use different parenting techniques. While some choose to be understanding and supportive parents, others choose over-protective helicopter parenting. However, things get even more arduous when you’re a single parent.
Being a single parent, I know the struggles and hardships a single parent has to go through. Not only do they need to balance work and life, but also prioritize their children. In fact, in a single-parent family, you do not even have the choice to quit your job to concentrate on your kids.
I am a mother to two daughters. I was quite young when my husband died. With two young daughters, I had no idea how I would manage everything from work to family. I had to take over our family business after my husband, but I also had to raise my daughters. I was a housewife before, and I did not want my daughters to feel that they get ignored because of the work responsibilities that I have now. So, it started getting very stressful for me.
However, I decided to manage my time and work in a way that I manage all my jobs efficiently. To create a work-life balance and raise my daughters, I gave my 100 percent. I decided to give my best and see what results come. My daughters were smart and independent. At times, they would understand my struggles and help me.
I made sure I never mix my work and family. I made a rule where I’ll be 100% present in my office during office hours. I would be completely present there. Similarly, when I would be at home, I would stay with my family and not get distracted by work. It was hard to maintain a balance initially, but soon the trick worked for me. I neither let my work suffer because of my family commitments nor did I let my daughters suffer because of my work.
Common Challenges Faced by Working Parents
Every parent works hard to ensure they provide their children with the best. While some parents succeed, some often fall prey to the guilt of not providing enough time to their children. When it comes to mothers, the situation intensifies even more.
Today, times have changed, and many people do not bother about working mothers. However, even today most women are judged based on the type of mother they are. A woman’s role as a mother is often overvalued than her professional position.
Some common challenges that working parents have to face are given below.
- No work-life balance: A full-time job sometimes seems too much for a mother. It gets really hard for her to devote 8-9 hours each day to her work. Working full-time can be both tedious and exhausting. Most couples find it hard to maintain a balance between their work life and personal life.
- Feeling of Guilt: One of the worst things about working parents is the amount of guilt it brings. On one hand parents need to work hard to provide their children a comfortable life they also feel bad about not spending enough time with their little ones. There is a ceaseless feeling of guilt that remains in all working parents, where they need to choose between their work and home.
- To Follow Passion or Not: Many times when couples form a nuclear family, it gets very hard for them to work and raise a child. When it comes to taking care of children, no parent wishes to leave their kids with someone else. In such situations, either of the parents has to give up their passion to look after the family. In most cases, mothers need to sacrifice their careers as children stay happy and warm around their mothers.
- Challenge to be good parents: As I said, everyone wants to be the perfect parents. However, couples often take it as a challenge. When it comes to a working mother, they take the stress of proving to the world that she can be a good mother and a good professional. These societal expectations often disrupt their peace and happiness. They are unable to enjoy either parenting or their professional life.
- Redefined Priorities: Most of the time, working men and women are judged from a different perspective. There is a great disparity in how we look at couples. Men are always given the responsibility to work and earn for the family. However, women are often asked to commit to children. But, when women choose to carry their professional life ahead, they are often questioned and bickered about.
- Extensive Multitasking: Most working parents have to multitask when it comes to parenting. Parents have to work at the office, manage household chores, and spend time with their children. Parents often lose track of their time and get no time for themselves. It gets really tiring and depressing sometimes.
10 Parenting Techniques for Working Parents
You might feel that being fully committed to work or family is an impossible task. Working parents often have to face this problem. It can be exhausting and daunting to manage everything at once. You might find it hard to perceive completely as a parent or an employee. However, you don’t have to feel this way. You can ace both roles- a full-time career while taking an active role of a parent.
Here we have discussed some parenting tips that will help working parents juggle the two sides of life easily.
- Stop feeling guilty
Quite often, mothers are judged for abandoning their children when they work full-time. Although fathers are expected to go to work and provide financial support to the family, mothers are expected to stay at home and look after children. However, some women do not have the option of staying at home. For instance, I had no choice but to handle the family business after his demise. There was no other way things could have happened. Some women might even want to work because they don’t want to give up their hard-earned careers. No matter what the reason is, neither of the parents should be judged or ashamed of taking their own decisions.
If you feel guilty about not being with your child all the time, you will not be able to give your best in both roles. You need to let go of this guilt and focus on the positive things that your work life is helping you in your family life. You should be confident in whatever decisions you take. Your child will feel and admire your sacrifice when they grow up.
- Effective Time Management
When you’re a parent and an employee, your time management skills should be superb. You cannot dwell extra time on things that you can accomplish quickly. Working parents need to plan and manage their time efficiently. When I started working, I would often feel that 24 hours is very little to accomplish everything that I desire. However, one of my teachers taught me how from Prime Minister to Military, all have the same 24 hours. The number of hours does not matter. What matters is how you manage and make the most of those 24 hours. I took the lesson and started working on my time management skills. Today, I look after my business, my life coaching profession, my daughters, and my spiritual and social life all at once.
- Be Transparent to Your Manager
Many times people do not tell their managers or boss that they’re struggling to balance their family life and work life. It is because they think their employers will judge their performance. Sometimes a working parent is assumed to be less productive.
There’s no doubt that there will be some changes in your life and working styles after having a child. Moreover, mothers are generally the primary parent when a child is sick or has a doctor’s appointment and other chores. So, working moms often require more flexibility in their work schedules. However, it does not affect their productivity or commitment in any form. No parent uses their child as an excuse to avoid work.
You can avoid all these miscommunications and misconceptions by openly talking to your manager or boss and explaining your problems. When you’re open with your superiors, they not only listen but also help you in any way possible. Your manager will appreciate your transparency and dedication to be super-helpful at work and home.
- Say No To Distractions
As I discussed before, maintaining a work-life balance is all about time management. Time is a very precious commodity when you are a working parent. The trick to spending equal time with family and at work is to manage time. However, humans have become very less productive with the advancements in technology. It is very easy to get distracted today and complete the work of 15 minutes in 45 minutes.
When you’re at work, you have to be mindful of your time. From socializing with co-workers to using your phone or spending extra time during lunch, you need to cut all these habits. All these habits reduce productivity. You need to limit your lunch break and internet surfing time. When you’re at home, give all your attention to family. Do not get distracted by work calls, emails, or social media. Instead of using your phone or watching TV, play board games with children or help your partner with chores.
- Seek External Help
It is quite common for women these days to seek help from childcare providers. There is nothing wrong with doing so unless the childcare provider is trustworthy. A parent needs to know that their child is in safe hands while working. It helps them to concentrate more on their work and less on thoughts about their home. You can find a nanny, a daycare, or someone you can trust with your child.
If you live in a joint family, things get easy when both parents are working. You may have aunts or grandparents to look after your kids. However, if you’re going for a daycare, select the one with flexible hours. A clean, spacious, and warm environment works best for children. You may even hire a nanny with extensive experience. It is always better to hire a nanny that has helped someone in your family or friend circle in the past. However, if in any way you can manage your child without help, there’s nothing better.
- Divide Duties With Your Partner
Parenting is a team effort. You don’t have to take the job all by yourself. You might want to be a better parent, but it will only exhaust you. It is always fruitful to team up with your partner when it comes to family life.
You both should equally respect each other’s professional and personal lives. When you are working as a team, you will yield the best results. From dividing household chores to parenting duties, divide them equally. The burden of housework should not fall on either of the parents. When both of you will divide duties, you’ll be equally contributing and feel happier.
If your child is older, you can delegate some tasks to them as well. Children feel very happy to be able to contribute. You can give them simple tasks like folding clothes, packing and unpacking their toys, helping in cleaning, setting the dinner table, and many more. When everyone works with heart at home, a strong bond is formed. All family members feel equally valued.
- Set Some Family Activities
Being a working parent, you already feel stressed about not being able to give enough time to family. As soon as the weekend approaches, you start thinking of all how you can have fun with your children. Simple activities like playing board games or watching movies with children will make them very happy.
In fact, your children too look up to weekends for some fun family time. Many parents spend their weekends going through their children’s week performance. However, you can spend time with your family by planning activities. You can organize a weekly game night, organize a mini picnic, or go out to have your favorite food. You may even take your kids to the park and have fun with them.
- Leave Your Work at Work
Most parents get so stuck in their work that they do not even realize how they spend hours working at home as well. When you do not leave your work at work, you become very unproductive. Even though I had a habit of working whenever possible, I soon realized it isn’t helping me in any way. I remember how once someone guided me, about the best use of time in fulfilling a task with wisdom and attention. I was told, if you try to catch three rabbits at a time, and you run after one of them, you’ll lose the other two. In the same way, if you try to be present everywhere, trying to acquire everything at one time, you will not even be able to manage even one of them properly.
Later, when I had to take care of my personal, professional, and social life, I had already realized these are the three rabbits I had to catch and manage each one of them graciously. You see, this is how some people make the most out of the 24-hours in a day while some just sit and think 24 hours are too few.
- Single Parent
Being a single parent is very hard. Today, many people choose single parenting. People today are more career-oriented, and raising a family single-handedly can be extremely challenging at times. The parent has to manage all household chores, raising children, and manage office work alone. The child might even start feeling the absence of the other parent and question them.
Also, a single parent often feels lonely and depressed. However, despite all these factors, a single parent tries to give the best to their children. From managing financial burden and emotional burden, life gets tough for them.
Being a single parent myself, I understand the struggles. It was a really tough challenge for me to raise two young daughters alone. But, I did not give up and trusted my parenting methods completely. I never doubted myself to be a bad parent. From finding extra time for my family to managing their crucial growth period, I never depend on anyone for help. Just trust your parenting technique, and your children will admire your hard work.
- Give Up On Perfection
Life can get really messy sometimes, so can be parenting. As parents, it is natural to feel the need to be perfect all the time. However, no matter how hard you try you cannot be perfect all the time. You might miss deadlines or forget important dates, but it is alright. The urge to be perfect always will start affecting your mental health. Every home is messy, and it is ok if you couldn’t cook a meal.
Parenting should not be perfect but should be a fun thing to do. You should enjoy parenting rather than challenging yourself. Many parents often stress about their parenting method by comparing themselves with other parents.
You can set tasks for yourself and give deadlines. If you get the task done, put a tick and don’t stress about perfectionism. It is better you just be yourself and avoid comparing yourself and your parenting technique to others. Also, let go of the expectations and just enjoy the process.