It’s a worry all working parents face, how to thrive at work, whilst your family and home commitments pull you in every direction.
You want to achieve and succeed in your job but struggle against the common negative cultural beliefs that you can’t give as much. We don’t believe that’s the case. We want to spread the word and help you accomplish your goals.
In a follow up to our recent article on 5 ways in which working parents can reduce their stress, we’ve pulled together 6 tips for you to utilise that will promote you as a working parent and ensure you are as successful as you can be.
1. Emphasise Your Strengths
Do you tend to focus on what you can’t do? Instead, concentrate on your strengths, especially all the important ones you’ve developed since becoming a parent. Patience? Tick. Empathy? Tick. Able to prioritise multiple tasks? Tick. There are so many positive attributes you acquire through parenting. Feel good about that and bring your employers attention to it. Demonstrate that quality is far more important than quantity. You may need flexible hours to manage all your commitments, but you’re dedicated and discerning, skills to be appreciated.
2. Take The Lead
Too often we feel helpless about the situation we’re in; the job won’t get easier, the hours won’t reduce, attitudes won’t change.
But you can take the lead; be the model to follow. Empathise with other working parents about the difficulties they face. If you hold a managerial position, exercise your ability to offer flexible working conditions and demonstrate an understanding attitude towards your team. Others are likely to notice the benefits and follow suit.
3. Speak Up
Similarly, don’t be afraid to talk about your struggle to manage home life alongside paid work. There’s plenty of other working parents who’ll participate enthusiastically if you get the ball rolling. Begin an open dialogue which allows people’s voices to be heard, and changes the negative perceptions that can be associated with working parents.
You’re a better worker because you’re a parent, not in spite of it. Let’s fuel a narrative that’s unapologetic, honest and proud. Expectations will change, and needs will be met.
4. Intentional Time Off
How you spend your time outside of work is just as important as how you spend it at work. Take your holiday, and use it wisely. Try not to use your time to play catch-up on all the jobs you hadn’t finished.
Plan quality time off that truly allows you to rest and refocus your energy.
Throughout your working week, make good use of your pockets of time; go for a walk outside on your lunch break or listen to an inspiring podcast. You’re more likely to feel re-energised and consequently be more productive.
5. Take Advantage of Support Programs
Your workplace is likely to have a support program available to you. Try and make use of it! Programs such as the Employee Assistance Program offers support like counselling and advice during challenging periods of grief or anxiety. Programs such as this also provide ongoing guidance and encouragement, to help keep you mentally well and functioning at your best.
Find out if your employer offers a similar program and use it as needed. Don’t wait until it’s a case of ‘have to’ before you seek their help. Consider it necessary maintenance, just like your dentist appointments. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised with the results.
6. Opt-In To Parent Benefits
Parent benefits are in place for good reason. Working parents need support! If you’re not already aware of possible parental benefits available through your employer or more widely from local government, research and ask.
It’s more than likely there’s childcare assistance or a tax break you’re entitled to and it’s usually a case of opt-in rather than an automatic referral, so apply and make use of all the available assistance.