Making More Time for Family as a Working Parent - It Can Be Done!

Posted on May 11th, 2020

As a single person, it is easy to take whatever time you find and make it your own. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you work up to 20 hours a day because you can be sure that the remaining 4 hours are yours to do with as you please. All that changes when you work and have a family. Your time is no longer your own and being able to strike a balance between work and family life can mean the difference between having a peaceful, happy home and a home where your children don’t know who you are. 

Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to strike that balance and end up either spending too much time working and lose valuable family time or they neglect their work to spend time with family. From the morning rush to when the kids go to bed, it can be hard to find any family bonding time. How can one strike a good balance where no aspect suffers? We offer some guidance in this article.

Chores and Cooking Can Be Fun 

As a parent, sometimes you just want to get things done yourself to save time but that may lead to you burning out quickly. Turn house chores into fun activities for you and the family. No matter the age of your kids, there is something for everyone. Even a 4-year-old is capable of picking up toys. The chores no longer seem like horrible tasks and things get done without you burning out. Cooking meals together is also a time where you can spend quality time together. Have the little ones pick vegetables or set the table. The tasks may not be done as well as you would do them, but it saves a little time and you get to spend time together as a family. 

Be Extra Organized

You are trying to save yourself more time to spend with the family, so you need to get rid of potential things that could waste your precious time. Organize keys, wallets, shoes and clothes. Doing this means you spend less time looking for your keys or trying to decide what to wear to work. The same goes for the kids; organize school materials and school wear the day before and have a lunchtime timetable that will eliminate the time wasted thinking of what to prepare for lunch. All that time saved will give you the opportunity to drop your kids off at school without breaking all the traffic rules, walk them to the bus stop or have a leisurely cup of coffee before heading to work.

Make Work Hour Changes

There is no doubt that being productive at work means you are more relaxed at home. You have fewer worries and you are able to spend quality time with your family. We all want this but sometimes, it doesn’t quite happen that way. What you can do is to make some work hour changes. Are there tasks that you can delegate? Are there tasks you can automate? Automating or delegating tasks to others means that you don’t have to do it all yourself, hence you will be able to create more time to spend with your family at the end of the day. You can also find out if you can work from home for some days of the week if your job is flexible enough. You have to remember though that working from home doesn’t mean you won’t complete your tasks for the day. 

Make Extra Meals

For those days you are tired after a long day working, you will want something quick and easy to make. Freezer meals save the day. Make extras of meals that you can store in the freezer for lazy days. Creativity is key here. For example, you can double your lasagne or macaroni and cheese recipe to store some in the freezer for another day. You can also steam extra vegetables that you can toss in your spaghetti or add to your salad. You can also cut up extra fruit from your fruit salad to add to your breakfast cereal or yogurt the next day. It’s no secret that home-cooked meals are healthier and cheaper, so by meal prepping, you will have extra time for bedtime stories or movie time, while still enjoying healthy meals.

Create Fun Traditions

You don’t have to wait for holidays or vacations to have some fun time with your family. It may be hard considering your work-life but that’s where you would need to strike a balance. Also, creating fun traditions doesn’t have to be anything big. Simple activities such as Sunday brunch or Friday movie nights can go a long way to strengthen the bond of a family. You can also include games and the occasional outing to your list of fun traditions. In this age of technology and social media, one rule/tradition to have would be for everyone to switch off their phones during family time or to ban TV during meals. The singular aim of this is to foster the bond between family members and still have a healthy work-life. 

Prioritize

No one can ever get it perfectly right all the time. One simply needs to find what works and stay on track. Ignore the things you see in movies about people who have perfect lives with their families and still excel at work. It’s all fiction. Since you are reading this, it is safe to say your priority right now is how to balance your work and family. Prioritizing the things that matter most to you will help you gain perspective and find ways to maximize your time. If you have a house that is not spick and span but would rather spend the extra time in the garden with the kids, do that instead. Always do what makes you happy and feel less stressed. 

As a working parent, you will sometimes have to choose between spending time with your family or working. By planning your time properly and deciding what should be at the top of the list, you will definitely be able to strike a good balance. 

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