Tight rope walking is not just an act you see in the circus – it’s a safe bet that each one of us, at some point, have felt like the guy walking the rope, caught in between their jobs and their home. Juggling a career and home at the same time is often the causes for a lot of stress. Throw in a bunch of kids at home in the mix and the level of stress is bumped up a few notches. So what can one do?
Many times, people (especially women) reach a crossroad where they have to face the obvious dilemma – “should I leave my job so that my family and kids are better cared for?” Sometimes they are happy to give up their careers to take care of the family and raise kids. Other times, putting one’s career on hold may not be possible due to various factors (independence, ambition, contribution to the family’s income,etc).
Taking care of family along with a high flying career is certainly possible and it sure takes a lot of effort to achieve this. Following some simple rules may help to bring some sense of semblance to your otherwise out of order life. It certainly helps to plan your day ahead of time so that you know what needs to be done and then go about doing them.
- Mornings are a crazy time in families where both parents are working. Breakfast needs to be on the table in time, the kids need to be packed off to school….
- Go to bed early in order to be up early next morning. Make your kids pick out their school clothes, shoes and books the previous night so that they are not rushing about in the morning. Get your kids to help you pack their lunches and get your spouse to share some of the morning chores.
- The commute to work can be used as a time when you can organize your thoughts regarding work. Once you reach work, you can start off immediately as you would have already planned your day and this way you put in more into work and be more efficient. The commute back home from work presents an opportunity to orient your thoughts towards home. Just like the morning commute helps you plan for work in the office, the evening commute is the time to think about what needs to be done at home – dinner, laundry, any paperwork to be taken care of, bills to be paid, helping your child with his home work, etc.
- Your kids may be hungry when they get home. Give them a healthy snack (a fruit for example) that will satisfy them and buy you some time to prepare dinner.
- Get your children to help you set the table for dinner. Dinner time is when everyone gets together and is a great time to catch up with each other – ask your kids about school or your spouse about his/her day at work. Avoid running after your kids to eat their dinner. Instead turn the TV off and sit together at the table and encourage them to eat by themselves as you eat your dinner.
- Get your children to help you set the table for dinner. Dinner time is when everyone gets together and is a great time to catch up with each other – ask your kids about school or your spouse about his/her day at work. Avoid running after your kids to eat their dinner. Instead turn the TV off and sit together at the table and encourage them to eat by themselves as you eat your dinner. washing up, brushing their teeth. They can read a book quietly before turning the lights off.
- Ask your spouse to help with the dishes after dinner while you do the laundry.
- After the kids are off to bed, you can have some quiet time with your spouse or watch TV to unwind, may be go through the pile of mails that came in, or read the paper that your child wrote in school.
- Try to avoid staying up late on weekdays. Reserve the late night movies on TV for the weekends. After all you too need rest after running about the whole day!
- As a general rule, delegate tasks that need to be done at home. If your kids are old enough, do ask them to help out with simple chores like drying the dishes and put them away after you’ve cleaned them. You might be surprised how eager they are to help and feel part of the team.
- Communicate with each other often – that way everyone knows what is happening in the other person’s life and is a good way to stay connected.
Every family has to work out a plan and schedule that works best for them – figure out a routine that works and stick to it! There are no universal rules as to how to strike a balance between managing home and career as each individual and each family are different.
One should not have to choose one over the other and it is certainly possible to make best of both. It sure needs patience and a lot of hard work but it can certainly be done!