Balancing Work and Family is Hard — Here Are Things That Can Help
Working moms often struggle to get everything done at the office and at home. To make sure that you’re taking care of everyone, including yourself, there are options that you can work out with your employer. These options can provide both you and your employer with a win-win situation.
Flextime is the opportunity to get your total hours in without a strict enforcement of the eight-hour day. For example, you might work for nine hours each day four days in a row and then put in a four-hour day. What can this do for both you and your employer? An employee who is given the morning or afternoon off during the week can run errands, pick up groceries and do housework.
This could free up your weekends for dedicated family time. Some employees might use flextime to work a shift opposite that of their spouse when their kids are small. This could ensure that childcare is covered. Meanwhile, employers gain an employee who can focus on the job because they have gained control over their home life.
What if you need to leave the area to care for an aging parent? To use FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), be sure to give your employer as much time as possible, at least 30 days if that’s feasible. If you qualify, you can use FMLA leave to protect your job while taking time to care for your family under specific circumstances. This means that your employer will need to find someone else to cover your workload for up to 12 weeks while you’re out. Upon your return, you would be either put you back into your former role or given a comparable position.
Some workers fear retaliation when they come back from FMLA leave. At all times, document your correspondence with your supervisor to make sure that you have provided them with as much data as possible before taking this unpaid leave.
Stop Trying So Hard
The idea of “having it all” is a dangerous myth. In fact, if you’re the parent of a young child, it can leave you feeling disappointed about what could be a magical time. Rather than worrying about keeping everything running great all the time, think of time and work management as a teeter-totter. Sometimes the house is spotless, and sometimes you pay someone to do your laundry. Sometimes the kids get all your attention, and sometimes Grandma comes over to give you a chance to shower, work, or run to the grocery store.
Every child and every job have differing needs at various times. Accountants are crazy busy in the spring. Your child will need all your attention when the dreaded head lice note comes home from school. No amount of organization or time management can enable you to keep everything going if your baby needs ear tubes put in or tonsils taken out; work will just have to wait.
Even if you do everything perfectly, things can fall apart. Rather than trying to plan for every contingency, be ready to let a few things drop when they have to. Remember to say “no” to things that take you off the path of your career goals or your family needs. You are doing important work. Honor your energy.
Here’s another article you might enjoy: Finding the Balance: 3 Tips for Women Who Own Businesses