How Can I Balance Work and Family Time?

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Answered by: Cesar, An Expert in the Work and Life Balance Category
There is no single solution when it comes to juggling a career and a family. It is a person's decision as to how they deal with the multiple roles that they have to play on a day by day basis. The key is to always stay flexible and have an open channel of communication between your spouse and children. Some of the skills that you have picked up at the work place like delegating, meeting deadlines, and setting limits can help achieve equilibrium between work and family time.

It is important to view your family as a interconnecting support system. Do not be afraid to be open and ask for help. Between juggling a career and a family, surprises will be inevitable, no matter how diligent of you person you might be. Be ready to create a backup plan. Create contingency by including extended family into your support system whenever you need help keeping your family time and work time balanced.

It is integral to assess situations that may require you to take time off work for family reasons. This will decrease the feelings of conflict. For example, if one of your children is very sick, then you might have to take time off of work and take care of the sick child. However, a large scale meeting at work should be more of a priority than a casual day at the park. Determine the significance of these obligations to decide which will require your immediate attention.

Feelings of guilt tend to be steadfast in parents when they need to take time off work for family reasons. By implementing clear goals that enriches the family structure, you will help foster feelings of compassion and shared responsibility. Communicate to your child that you have work responsibilities to take care of and that you will appreciate for them to be home or at the babysitter's house within a certain time-frame. By instilling the reality of the situation, you will help them understand as to why they may not be able to see you for a couple of hours right after school. Perceptions and clear expectations are important to prevent miscommunication. To help ease the strain of your familial role, allow yourself to mold and modify your expectations in a pinch.

To make sure that the family is moving as a unit, create a list of family goals and objectives. As a professional, you will have a slew of daily responsibilities to complete at work. Help foster this same sense of accountability by creating a list of family events. Sometimes the family unit moves so fast on a day-to-day basis, that many planned events never come into fruition. By discussing family events openly and writing them down, you are welcoming a sense of commitment. Just make it a habit to follow through to ensure a balance. As your work obligations change, be open to revising the family calendar. If you suddenly have more time because work has suddenly allowed it, take advantage of that by spending it with your family. There will be times that you may feel like you are neglecting family for work. Just make sure that these moments of imbalance are compensated to help restore equilibrium as soon as possible.

Balancing work and family requires flexibility. Understand that children will bring many surprises in a moment's notice. Never get too comfortable in your routine because every day life will change as soon as you feel as things are under your control. Realize that for you to be successful as a professional and as a parent, you will sometimes have to substitute original goals for different but equal challenges.

Create time for yourself. Being a good parent starts with a healthy self-esteem and self-confidence. Use your personal free time to reinforce affirmations for yourself. If that means taking time to read your favorite parenting magazine before bed or taking up a hobby that reinforces your confidence, then make sure that you occupy your free time with these tasks. Find ways to relax and help release tension in your mind and body. Always have an open channel of communication with your spouse and always share your concerns. Don't be afraid to listen to your spouse if they have any concerns of their own.

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