The six challenges working parents face
Being a working parent is no picnic. Everyone who is one knows that. Balancing work and kids is one hell of a challenge.
Although having and raising children is our greatest joy, parents who want or need to work often face serious challenges. Let`s take a look at a few of them and see what can we do to overcome these obstacles.
You still need help, whether you work from home or not.
Working parents who work in the office know very well the struggle to get their children to school, go to work and be on time, pack an 8 hour day into six, go pick up the children at 3 pm and get home. We often think that working remotely is the answer and that we won`t need to pay the high day care fees. Well, that`s not exactly true.
Even if we work from home and our kids aren`t in school yet, we still need help. That can be daycare, nanny/babysitter, grandparents (if we have any) and so on. The positive here is that we have more time to spend with the kids. The negative is that we still need to pay for someone to come and help. Otherwise we can`t be fully productive at work.
You feel like you are not doing enough
Does it always feel like we are not doing enough? That we can always do better - at work, with the kids, for the house? Let`s put some things into perspective.
Some days we will have to prioritize the job and some days the kids. Sometimes food won`t be perfect at dinner and sometimes the house will be messy. There are times when we just need to accept that we can`t control it all. Eventually, things will balance themselves out.
Your boss questions your dedication
Having kids inevitably leads to taking time off from work. Someone always gets sick or has some emergency that you have to deal with. When we take the day off to care for the kids, the boss is not always happy.
It is important to discuss these things with our superiors at work. Let them know what is going on and how we can handle the workload until things calm down. Keeping them in the loop is important in order to reinforce their confidence in us as remote workers.
Colleagues judge you unfairly.
When we finish work early to go pick up kids from day care or school, our colleagues often get annoyed. They feel it is unfair that we work less, even though they don`t know that we work twice as hard and fast to have everything ready on time. This creates tension in the office and makes the managers reluctant to allow remote work. It is important that we never compromise on the quality of our work and to always deliver on time. That might gain us some respect back and make other colleagues think that they need to spend less time of social media when they should be actually working.
We often work after hours
Many colleagues don`t see that but working parents tend to work even after they leave the office. We are answering emails on our phones while shopping, doing research in any free minute or squeezing a meeting before going home. In order to achieve the work life balance we need, we have to be present. That means when we are at work, we focus fully on work. When we go home, we need to try to focus on the kids and spend some quality time with them.
Find time for yourself is an illusion
Juggling work, house and family means that there is no time to breathe and do something special for ourselves. However, you have to know that working parents can experience burnout too. In order to avoid it, we absolutely need to take time for some self-care. That can be anything from some face massage and a hydration mask, to taking a longer shower after kids go to bed. Even 15 minutes can be enough to decompress and relax our body and mind.