Working parents constantly deal with the challenge of trying to balance family and work. They want their kids to have shared memories of fun summer vacations and spending time together as a family instead of remembering their parents being on their computers or spending all day at the office.
Yet, parents must also work to support their families. It can feel overwhelming and laden with guilt. Perhaps you’ve thought of reducing your hours or even quitting working altogether. Or wish you could stay at home or begin working remotely. However, given the current economy, many families cannot afford these options, or their employer may not offer to work remotely.
I assure you, you’re not alone in your struggle. Many working parents ask the same questions: “How do I work and still be a good Mom or Dad? Can it really be done?” Remember, the measure of a good parent does not lie in where you are employed, if you are married, how you educate your child, or even if you breastfeed or even eat all organic food. Instead, successful parenting is based on a loving relationship and the commitment to do what is best for your children. Summertime is a more significant challenge for many working parents. Here are some creative ways to help you balance your job responsibilities and still spend time with your kids.
Have realistic expectations
We all have the perfect vision of how moms and dads should be able to be everything to their children. We want to take them on vacations, participate in the local camps, and dream of engaging conversations as you linger over dinner outside. And then the reality of work sets in, and our best plans start to unravel. Don’t try to be the perfect parent. Instead, be the best you can be to your children because that matters.
Technology is often discussed negatively with much justification. However, responsible technology use can be an asset to working parents. Use the latest apps to keep you connected with your family and employer. The portability of modern technology can help you become profitable in more ways than ever before by expanding your office to the outdoors. Likewise, scheduling and planning have never been easier than today’s digital options. Embracing technology can be an efficient tool for balancing work and home duties.
Bare bones structure is the name of the game for a successful summer. Easy routines and schedules can make combining two worlds manageable and productive. Summer is not the best time to have a complicated schedule or routine. You may have to temporarily let go of some of the details of your routine to accommodate a simpler summer schedule.
Summer break is intended to be a much-needed respite for your children from the pressures of academics and school. It can be for you too! Let go: of anxiety, stress, perfection, unrealistic ideals….whatever it is. Let it go!
Pick it Up!
Summer may be an opportunity to close the chapter on one season and turn the page toward another! Pick it up: flexibility, gratitude, positivity, deep breathing, laughter…whatever it is. Pick it up!
Connect with Other Working Parents
Scheduling time with friends may be easier over summertime than during the rest of the year because of other commitments. Gathering with other working parents can help you learn about their secrets to balancing work and family over the summer. Spending time outdoors in the evenings solidifies friendships and builds memories. Likewise, socializing with others increases emotional health and decreases stress. Ideally, try to connect with friends weekly.
Summer Self Care
The summer months offer unique opportunities to take some time for yourself. The longer days provide more time for quiet evenings for walks or sitting outside. It can also be a great time to get more sleep and exercise. Setting aside some time to unwind and reflect stimulates creativity and refocus. Embrace the Cheat Days, and feel free to eat ice cream for dinner!
Summer is synonymous with flexibility. So embrace them! And when things don’t go as planned, recognize that they are not failures—just a part of the easy days of summer.