How to find that right balance as a working parent….

As Available Experts, you have all already made the very conscious decision that you wish to have a balance between your work and family lives but just because you are highly professional people, this doesn’t mean that getting the balance exactly right comes naturally. I am sure that many of you find at times that you are committing more of your time to a certain area in your life than you really want to and when this means having to work more and see your families less, it’s hard. We know, all of us at Availexe feel your pain from time to time. We are all in need of a little reminder now and then of things that we can do to get that equilibrium back to where it suits us better. So, when it feels as though things are getting on top of you and you are in a place that doesn’t make you feel completely happy, take a look at our handy guide and feel comforted in the knowledge that there are a lot of people feeling exactly as you do right now.

Top Tip # 1
Set clear boundaries and expectations with your boss. Even when working flexibly, there are going to be times when something crops up at work which requires your attention when you are supposed to be spending time with your family but you really need to outline what you are prepared to do with your boss. They aren’t mind readers and what is acceptable to one person, may be totally unacceptable to others. By outlining exactly what you are and aren’t prepared to do and by having a clear line between work and other aspects of your life, then there can be no surprises for either of you.

Top Tip # 2
All of you are, I am sure, natural over-achievers and whilst this has probably set you up for amazing careers pre-children, this tendency to always want to do more and be better is not conducive to getting a good work-life balance. You are the only person who can manage your time so it’s up to you to get realistic goals that will enable you to feel that you have succeeded without threatening this work-life balance you are striving to achieve.

Top Tip # 3
Accept that achieving a work-life balance doesn’t just happen, it takes work, consideration, tactics and strategy. Approach creating that balance in the same way as you would your work and you will be on top before you know it. And when things don’t work out quite as you had planned, be kind to yourself and reflect what changes you need to make to get back on the straight and narrow.

Top Tip # 4
Even if you have managed to get out of work on time, the chances are that you will be feeling frazzled, your mind will still be on work and the last thing you want to do is to rush home and do a hundred and one things with cBeebies Bedtime Hour blaring in the background. Spending good quality time with your family is vital, so when you arrive home, take just a few minutes to take off your work hat and put on your parent hat-you will have a far happier evening and bedtime routine if you are relaxed and your children are relaxed and happy too.

Top Tip # 5
If you have taken the decision that you want to spend less time at work and more time with your family, then it is absolutely hopeless if you are stressed and thinking of work when you should be enjoying quality time with your family. Children are clever little things and will easily pick up on your moods so show them that you really do mean business by allocating a night or two a week to “you and them time”- leave work at the door, make a relaxing drink (wine is my tipple of choice but choose whatever you like) and rather than rushing to get the kids to bed, enjoy their bath time and bedtime routines together. After all, the time will soon come when they are too old to need your help, so take stock and enjoy these precious simple moments together because life is short, children grow up quickly and you really don’t want to have any regrets.