Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to doMatt Walsh
If you’re a working parent who is:
a) struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance
b) just returning to work and feeling guilty or overwhelmed
You’re in the right place.
We get it. Having it all can feel like a pipe dream. Going back to work after parental leave probably didn’t look or feel like what you expected. Things not going to plan can make us feel a lot of emotions, from frustration and anxiety to guilt and sadness. Compromises and sacrifices often have to be made, and they’re not always easy to deal with.
Just know that everything that you’re feeling is valid. It’s just as okay to want to progress your career as it is to sign off a few hours early to spend quality time with your kids. Remember that every day is an opportunity to grow, learn, and spend time with those who matter most.
Carve out more daily family time with these three tips
A true work-life balance isn’t easy to achieve. Work likely takes up the biggest chunk of your day, which means that your family might sometimes feel neglected. While your partner might get your schedule, your children will need extra support. Even the most confident children need to be reminded that they are loved and treasured exactly as they are, which is why carving out quality time every day is so essential.
You might get too focused on basic needs such as food and schoolwork, while overlooking your child’s emotional needs. Structure and activities are important, but so is the downtime spent letting your kid be a kid. Take some time to truly see and hear your little one as their imaginations run wild. Hearing about the cloud animals they see or the celebrating the joy the feel after seeing a butterfly or bird pass by will empower them to embrace their individuality. This will help them become healthy adults that love and trust themselves.
Follow these three tips to carve out time for those special moments that will benefit you and your child so much.
1. Meditate as a family when possible
Studies show that even 10 minutes of daily meditation reduces anxiety and enhances mental clarity. Family meditation can turn into a powerful bonding experience for everyone involved.
The concept of meditation might seem strange to a child, so you might want to give it a playful name. Establish a quiet place in your home or in an outdoor space where no phones are allowed.
Get your children interested by letting them choose crystals or picking a candle scent. You can also choose nature sounds that remind them of special memories, such as ocean or forest sounds reminiscent of beach days or family hikes. Once the atmosphere has been created, you can fall into a calming meditation that benefits the whole family.
3. Leave space in your hectic schedule, even if it’s only a few minutes
We may think that everything in our schedule is essential, but the truth is there’s probably at least one thing we can cut out or replace. This may seem difficult or even unreasonable, but more time with your family will always be worthwhile.
See if you can swap one task or event for something you can do with your child. A gym session can turn into a nature walk or bicycle ride for the both of you, or a grocery shopping trip can be done online so that you can do an activity with your child instead.
2. Schedule in self-care, even if it feels impossible
Regularly engaging in self-care is a selfless act. Giving yourself space for reflection and relaxation will enable you to show up 100% for your kids. Your self-care session can be anything you want it to be – a relaxing bath, a heartfelt journal entry, or a coffee date with yourself.
Finding time for yourself can be difficult, so you may need to physically schedule in time for self-care. Check your calendar to see when you can squeeze in some you time. It can be during lunch breaks, or you may need to ask your partner or co-parent for a bit of extra childminding time. Do whatever it takes to find even a few moments for yourself.
Finding more time for your family often means having to reprioritize other avenues of your life, but it always leads to a happier, more peaceful home.