Balancing work and family life is tough for busy parents. Finding comfort in your life might be a challenge, but if you’re a nurse, it’s easy to find a comfy pair of women’s scrubs to do the trick at work. Treating yourself to creature comforts is important for balancing things out between work and home. You do not need to choose between work and family life. You can mesh them by giving yourself a solid structure that involves fun and comfort. Consider the following tips on finding work-life balance for busy parents.
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Create a Planner
As “that’s so middle school” as it might sound, it really helps to have a planner. When you’re a busy parent, it is easy to forget appointments and events. With an affordable planner, you can get to work structuring each day during the week so that you can stress less. Add some flair to your planner with cute stickers or by color-coding your daily events and appointments.
Return Home Relaxed
Come home, remove your scrub jacket, and relax. But start your relaxation even before you walk in the front door. Kids pick up on their parents’ stress and anxiety, so coming home refreshed and chill will help keep them at ease, too. Tired after a long shift? Crank up your favorite upbeat jams in the car. Take a rejuvenating soak in the bath with some lavender-scented Epsom salt after you get home. Do whatever winds you down from the workday so that you can enjoy some time with family or friends before bed.
Switch Off Work Notifications
Some of you might not be able to do this, but for those who can, switch off your work notifications. Those group texts from your co-workers can wait. As soon as you walk through your door at home, kick off your shoes and turn those notifications off. Your family or friends deserve your undivided attention while you are with them, and 99% of the time, your work can wait. That being said, though, you might need to talk to your supervisor and co-workers about this boundary. When you are off the clock, you need time to de-stress and devote yourself to your persona life. When you explain this, ask for your team’s respect of this boundary, and watch how sympathetic – empathetic even – they can be.
Chores are an essential part of “adulting,” it’s true. But you might have too much on your plate if you cannot get everything done within a reasonable time frame, without feeling utterly drained. That is why it is important to create a budget to help you outsource some of that obnoxious, never-ending housework. Hiring a cleaning crew to tackle your house even once a week can alleviate a lot of stress, and it gives you a few extra hours to spend with your favorite people, doing things that you enjoy.
And hey, if you need to order takeout or get your shopping done online, do it. Nobody can fault you for not having enough time and energy to achieve it all. These resources are there for your convenience. You are not a bad parent if you do not cook dinner for the family every single night of the week.
Prep the Night Before
Get into the habit of preparing meals and setting out clothing the night before so that mornings are a little bit easier. If you have a handy-dandy 24-hour programmable coffeemaker, set it each night to start brewing a short while before you wake up. Cut your morning routine down to make sure that you are not flying by the seat of your pants before you have to head off to work. With enough nighttime prep, you can go into work the next day feeling less stressed and more ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
Get Your Significant Other Involved
Don your favorite pair of jogger scrubs and go for a run with your partner. Do whatever it takes to get them involved in something you both enjoy, whether it is working out or going out to see a movie. One of the biggest relationship annihilators is being closed off to trying new things. So, instead of doing the same ol’, same ol’ with your SO, plan weekend dates that involve trying new things you think you might both enjoy.
When you are at home, you can jump in on doing dishes with your partner to help make things go more efficiently and have time to chat. Get them involved in helping you make dinner. Maximize the time you two spend together so that you feel closely connected as more than just busy parents.
Plan Fun Family Days
Get the entire family together on one of your days off and plan to do something fun. Whether you take a trip to the zoo, spend a warm summer day at the beach, or go searching for pumpkins and apples in the fall, there are plenty of ways to spend time together. Being able to spend your days off doing fun, planned events is a great way to unwind and reconnect with the ones you love the most.
Put Your Kids First
Whatever you do, make sure you are still putting your kids first. When children feel they come in second to your work, they might start to feel like they aren’t good enough to warrant your attention. And that is something that can get worse rather than better over time if you don’t address it. Remind your kids that, even though you have to work, they deserve your attention, and you enjoy all the time you do get to spend with them. Stay involved with their sports teams, social events, school, and regular at-home routines as much as possible.
Think about ways you can adjust your busy life to lessen the stress. You might need to negotiate a bit with your boss and lay down boundaries for co-workers contacting you off the clock, but doing this is worth it for your peace of mind as a busy mom or dad.