Disclaimer: This post is not to bash or down play the hard work that stay at home parents put in.
Being a working parent can suck. It can. When you are at home you have the constant feeling that you need to be the best parent and forget about work. When you are at work you have the constant feeling that you have to be the best at your profession while constantly thinking about your child. It is a struggle. It is a balancing act. It is possible to do both and do well at both.
Both my husband and I work full time. We both have significant drives to work. His commute is about 20 minutes, mine is about 45+ minutes. We also have different days off, meaning he has off while I work, and he works every weekend. Here are some things that we have found help us stay sane at work and at home on a regular basis…wait, are we even sane on a regular basis? These tips would probably be helpful for anyone.
- Help each other out. This one is huge! Helping one another is truly the key. With both of us working one of us usually makes dinner while the other one plays with the kid. One of us packs up his bag for the next day, while the other one packs up his lunch. Neither of us complain. We never really tell each other no. If one of us needs help, or asks for something to be done, the other one just does it. It helps us to both be happier at home.
- Have a plan. For everything. Plan for the expected and the unexpected. Plan what everyone will wear the night before. If you have school aged kids, have them wear their school clothes to bed so getting dressed in the morning is argument free and thoughtless. Plan what you will eat for the day, for the week. Have a plan for what will happen if the kid is sick. Who will stay home? In our house, my husband is first in line for sick duty since he doesn’t have to write sub plans when he misses a day of work.
- Learn to let it go. Be okay when said plans do not work out. When things go wrong at work, let them go before you get home. When things go wrong in the morning at home, learn to let it go before you get to work. It’s not your kid’s fault you had a crappy day at work, just like it’s not your boss’s fault that your kid slept horribly the night before. There will be nights when you get NOTHING done at home. There will be dishes in the sink, or laundry piled high, but I assure you, it will be okay. Let it go, let it go!
- Find childcare you can trust. Find someone or somewhere you can take your child that you feel comfortable. As parents, we all worry a little bit when our children aren’t with us. That worry gets multiplied a thousand or more times over when we do not 100% trust who they are with. Visit childcare places when there are children present. Ask questions. Pop in. Be open with them about your expectations.
- Put down your devices. How much time do you waste on your device at home? This is an issue for us. Set aside a couple of hours each night that are device free. You would be shocked at how much more productive you can become.
- Early bedtime. Send those kids to bed early. Kids need more sleep than adults anyway. Bedtime in our house is around 7. Once he is down we get ready for the next day, taking care of any house work that needs to be done or personal things. This is also our time to be together. Sometimes, we just hop into bed, stalk Facebook, play some games, talk and go to sleep.
- Quit comparing yourself to others. Social media is the worst for this. We see an unrealistic picture of what other’s lives are like. Does it really matter what is going on in their house? Do what works for you and your family. Just because their child will have homemade cutesy Valentines to bring to school does not make her a better mom than you. Because he caught his son’s first steps on camera does not make him a better father than you.
- Continue to love what you do. You chose your job before you had kids. You loved your job. Remember why you love it, and continue to love it. Now, you are also a parent. Parenting is also a job. The most important job you will ever have. Love it. Love it when it’s fun. Love it when it’s tough. Be the type of person you would want your kids to be. They are watching.