Whether you’re a single parent or in a relationship, juggling parenthood and full-time employment can certainly be tricky, and exhausting, at times. If you continue to struggle with the pressures of work, household chores, and looking after young children, you might start to suffer from anxiety, overwhelm and stress, which will eventually lead to burnout.
Not everyone finds the pressures of managing a successful career and parenthood a walk in the park. Juggling all the responsibilities of full-time employment and raising children can leave very little time for relaxation or social activities.
Because many of us want to appear that we have everything under control and we worry what our boss or colleagues might think of us if we show any signs of struggling, we continue in silence and avoid asking for help.
Nowadays, companies have a responsibility to assist working parents and offer alternatives for their work situation. Being unable to work overtime due to parental responsibilities, for example, shouldn’t mean that you can’t do your job properly during normal working hours.
Ways you can lighten the load
- Ask your manager for flexible working hours. If you discuss your situation with management, they may be able to suggest some options that will assist you, such as working from home a couple of days a week or working your hours in four days rather than five. Working from home can be helpful by freeing up valuable commuting time which can be used for work, chores or relaxation.
- If your workload is unmanageable and it starts to eat into your home life, speak to your boss about how they can help. Maybe they can allocate some of it to a colleague or extend deadlines.
- If you’re in a relationship, ensure you share parental responsibilities. Perhaps one of you can focus on the morning routine while the other takes care of the evening routine. That way it can relieve some of the pressure for both of you.
- Be more organised. We often get stressed because we don’t have any plans in place so the morning rush seeing to the kids and yourself and getting to work can seem frenzied. Make a plan the night before of what you need to do, or even prepare things such as packed lunches, P.E. kit, changing bag, etc. You could even make meals in a slow cooker to save time when you get home from work.
- Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals. Try not to compete with other parents who might have more free time than you. There’s no pressure to bake the best cakes for the school fayre or volunteer for the parent’s committee! Although they might be nice to do, decide whether or not they are priorities and don't beat yourself up if you can't/choose not to do them.
- Make time for yourself either alone or as a family. When you do more of what you enjoy your mental wellbeing will be in much better shape, meaning you’re more able to cope with any challenges and tasks that lie ahead. If needs be, recruit a childminder, friend or family member so that you enjoy some much-needed time off.