People these days look like jugglers on a mono-cycle at a circus. They have 24 hours within which they incorporate a 30 hour schedule. Meetings, gym, chores, kids’ homework, family time, cooking, bills, and social events and on and on and on. All this is amplified if both husband and wife are working. Making time as working parents sounds far fetched.
Working with Visit which is an online lifestyle-coaching portal, I know many of our life-coaches addressing several questions on parental stress issues and its link to attention deprived children. It is a real need and can be observed as a very unhealthy trend on the rise.
So let’s begin by getting off of the mono-cycle, shall we? Let me tell you that you are not alone. All you require to get your act together are a few necessary changes you can make as a working parent. First, change your own mindset about defining control and second, ask for help.
Our idea of what life “should” be like has to change. The minute we have “ideals” that are permanently fixed it induces more chaos. Having flexibility and working with change being a constant is important when dealing with situations as a working parent. Raising young kids at home only means “unexpected instances”. They are great with surprises and many of them definitely give you a heart attack! Accepting this as a reality will just be the first step towards opening your minds to possibilities and relaxes rigidity.
Control may not be having everything in perfect order all the time but having an awareness of what has to be done on priority. Research proves that those who understand this thrive both at work and at home with their families. We definitely cannot use the “one size fits all” rule as each individual and home is different. Customizing your day based on need can be quite a task but has its advantages.
Some of the misconceptions that add pressure to maintain work-life balance are to be addressed. The notion that work time and time with family have to be divided equally to have a healthy lifestyle is common. This is not true, as work time has added travel time. Considering commuting in cities at peak traffic times is as irritating as it sounds. Added to this is at least 8 hours of rest where you will be out like a bulb. The time given to family, spouse and self has to be divided between the remaining hours. So it’s not about dividing it equally but on necessity. This does not mean that we neglect one to make time for the other. Keeping track of committing time to kids, spouse, chores and self is vital for maintaining balance.
The other issue is mainly — Communication. Asking for help or expressing that you need cooperation, if done rightly, will go a long way. This goes two ways. One, if you are the kind of person who is particular about how things are to be around the house, it might strain the relationship with others. The other, when you really need help but are unable to ask for it clearly can make others oblivious to all your hard work. They may not be aware that their contribution is needed at some point. We can agree that one person cannot do everything on his/her own.
Here are some of the ways dividing chores can help you and your family save time:
· You and your spouse dividing chores as per convenience, if your child is an infant, will be a more agreeable arrangement.
· If you have grown up kids you can assign work accordingly.
· Kids are enabled to be responsible for themselves and other family members.
· Doing things together is known to strengthen bonds within the family and improve communication and cooperation between individuals.
· As a couple you can get to spend quality time to discuss important events of the day and also have time for intimacy.
· It will also leave everyone with buffer time for self-care and “alone time”.
This approach ensures to a large extent that no one is completely fatigued physically, mentally or emotionally. This can be defined as a healthy balanced life at work and home. Asking for help, well, helps. Effective verbal expression can be used to maintain control to a great extent and remain relaxed even through a tough work day.
Doesn’t it feel great that you don’t have to mount a mono-cycle again? A structured regime at home will help you perform better at your workplace too by raising your productivity and reducing stress. Delegation redistributes responsibility and induces efficiency. With ‘time’ and ‘duty’ we understand that the more people involved the merrier it gets!
Work-life balance simply means balancing responsibilities together. Healthy communication and flexibility help set things in place at work and home!
The author is a Visit Coach practicing out of Bangalore.