Learning strategies for making the most of time at work and at home will enable working parents to reduce some stress and enjoy their days as much as possible. Here are a few tips.
Establish a routine.
Kids (and often adults) feel most comfortable with a routine, especially when they know what to expect. Create a routine that works for you and don’t worry if it’s not the perceived “right” way to do things. For example, maybe the kids can eat a toaster cake on the way to school if breakfast time is rushed. It’s alright to let the kids watch a few minutes of cartoons in the morning if it frees up a moment for you to hop in the shower.
Stay involved in school.
Working parents may be at a loss as to how they can get involved with school or daycare happenings without compromising work. While not everyone can be “Class Mom,” ask the teacher what you can do to contribute on your own time. Perhaps you can use business savvy to create a class web site or weekly newsletter. Talk with your boss to see if one day a month can be taken off so that you can volunteer time at school, with work hours made up on a weekend or with a flex time program. Find out if party planning can be done after work hours.
Avoid busy mornings.
With everyone getting dressed and ready for work and school at the same time, mornings can be chaotic. The best idea is to do as much as possible the night before. Everyone in the household should lay his or her clothes out for the following day. Briefcases and backpacks should be stocked and ready to grab. Lunches can be pre-made and stored in the refrigerator. You can have the children do as much as they can to free up your time to ready yourself. This will help them feel important as well as give you a break. Make arrangements with neighbors to get kids on the school bus or participate in a car pool scenario.
Make the most of evenings.
Set aside at least one night a week where the family comes together. This means no late work projects, sports practices, etc. Turn off the television and spend time together. On other nights, take the time to touch base with everyone in the house. Aim for family dinners together, even if it’s a quick meal.
You don’t have to be superwoman to get it all done. Sometimes it takes a little help. If the laundry is overflowing and you’d rather play with the kids on the weekend instead of spending the day folding clothes, drop it off at the laundromat to be washed and folded. Set up a kid swap with other working moms so that one day they take and entertain the kids and the next day you do, especially if work commitments call. Perhaps a grandparent or a trusted neighbor can pitch in.