Where Does Work End And Life Begin?

Finding the right work-life balance is an ongoing quest for busy working parents and calls for careful consideration, patience, adaptability, and self-awareness. Setting the right balance between the two for parents with preschoolers will put them on a delightful journey that will involve them in enriching experiences on the way.

You as a parent can navigate these challenges with joy and effectiveness by integrating and setting clear boundaries, prioritising self-care, fostering effective communication, involving children in household chores, and mastering time management.

When you embrace the little joys and learn from each experience, you are more likely to celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. Involving your little ones in age-appropriate tasks, and investing the time you have on hand wisely. As you will have the power to shape both your career path and share cherished moments with your entire family, you will be embarking on a truly joyful and memorable journey.

The most important work life balance tips for parents is to find harmony amidst the beautiful interactions and responsibilities of raising your children. Embrace this journey with resilience and unwavering determination, knowing that success lies not only in nurturing both the growth and development of your child but also in seeking and achieving your own fulfilment.

The dynamics and sometimes the overwhelming nature of balancing career aspirations with the needs of young children is a task every parent needs to face in order to plan and implement ways to deal with a situation that is usually filled with uncertainty and deal with emotionally charged situations.

The sense of responsibility for working parents in such circumstances is a precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children or raise your children as if one did not have to go to work. The debate on work-life balance has been going on in Singapore for ages. And this was succinctly put across by the mother of a highly successful daughter.

“You might be the president of your company. You might even sit on the board of directors. But once you get home, you are a wife, a mother, a daughter-in-law. You are all of that. And nobody can take that place. So leave everything about your work problems and successes behind when you get home!”

Source: Asian Parent, Singapore

The rest really doesn’t seem to matter to anyone else but you! Sounds harsh but it is the truth. So the sooner you reconcile to being the dad and mom you are expected to be, the better and more worthwhile the decision you take will be.

Try not to feel guilty

Mom Rushing to Daycare

Whether you are a mid-level manager or even a new recruit, being a working parent comes with a price on its head and it takes its toll. Imagine this scenario: You run out of your last meeting at 5.00pm and rush to the metro. You know for sure that if you miss the train, you will have to wait another 15 minutes to catch the next one. And you can’t let that happen again and again. As you have to be at the daycare to fetch your daughter by 5.30pm sharp! 

Switching into a ‘mom’ mode the moment you leave the office is really not that easy. You are already feeling the tension rising and the anxiety building up. You really hate it when your daughter happens to be among the last ones to be fetched. The sense of disappointing yourself again is so real, but what’s the alternative?  

Life is tough for everyone working while parenting, but it’s especially so for working moms. A woman who is a mother is 78% less likely to get hired and women in the workplace who have children earn less than women who don’t when compared to an equally qualified non-mother.  

To make matters worse, trying to be available all the time at work and at home, often results in a sense of frustration that nags a working mother all the time. Being unable to give either work or parenting 100% is both exhausting, but also impossible to keep up.  

By burning the candle at both ends, working parents may seem to have achieved an ideal social work-life balance. But the reality is somewhat an elusive goal — a juggling act. So how to be a good parent and have a career? How you manage it all in a way that works not only for you but also for those around you will be critical! 

9 to 5 work schedule is no longer valid

Flexible Schedule for Parents

Women underestimate the costs of motherhood. The process of being a working mom is uniquely complicated and filled with unforeseen circumstances. The mismatch is biggest for those with a college education and are expected to maintain a career. 

Working parents have a busy schedule that revolves around their children and unexpected events in their day-to-day lives. There is no way these parents can predict when their child is likely to fall sick or get injured or be prepared for other unplanned events that keep happening all the time.  

One of the most sensible things employers can do to accommodate working parents is to ensure the availability of flexible work schedules. Parents of young children need the space because a traditional 9 to 5 work schedule isn’t exactly favourable to managing things, getting stuff done and still meet business deadlines.  

Creating a work culture that values a healthy work-life balance and help working moms and dads feel comfortable at work is the best thing that can happen to our business environment. But until such progressive thinking and corporate culture become a reality, we have to learn to cope as best as we can.

Key factors that can help you to cope

Effective Parenting Tips

Everything nowadays seems to be hanging by a thin thread — job, family life, and sanity. While parents will never find one magical answer that solves all the problems, there are things that can be done to make work-life balance a little more manageable and hopefully achievable.

Let go of the guilt factor: Try not to dwell too much on how you’re missing your child, instead, think about how your role in a company is benefitting the family. Think about how working lets you do things that may not have been otherwise possible. When you work you can afford to pay for certain special classes and opportunities for yourself and your children or you’re able to put away savings for their education. 

The most successful career moms have found ways to be efficient in both worlds — accepting the fact that there will be good and bad days. Mothers should also realise that they are not alone and they should discuss their feelings with other mothers at work or their own support group. Interaction with others going through similar situations will lead you to better solutions and arrive at finding an suitable way to maintain an effective work-life balance

Strike a deal with your employer: Before speaking to your HR executive, do some research. Find out whether other employees have flexible arrangements and use this information to your advantage. Work towards devising a proposal that your employer has already agreed to with others. Think through and come up with other alternatives as well. Include a trial period and demonstrate that what you are suggesting is a workable proposition and will not compromise your productivity.  

Remember, no two companies will have the same rules when it comes to flexibility. So be amenable and as truthful as possible. At the same time clarify two critical aspects, ask “how long can you be absent for?” and whether you will still be paid for the time you take off”. It’s best to know the answers to these questions upfront as it will avoid any confusion when and if you opt to take leave.

Avoid the morning-rush: Avoid starting the day on a frantic note, get organised for work the night before. Pack your child’s lunch and books, lay out your child’s clothes and yours, and get everyone to complete their morning routines quickly. You could also decide what to make for breakfast, repack school bags and place them by the door, right next to your keys, so you can grab them and lock up on your way out.

Make it a point to go over the next day’s to-do list and divide the schedule; determine which parent gets the children dressed, buys necessary groceries and cooks the meals. Completing and taking care of mundane tasks, allows you to spend a few minutes eating breakfast without having to rush out of the house.

Keep in touch while at work: Connect with your child from time to time. These needn’t be for extended periods, even 15 to 20 secs will indicate that you care and miss her. For mothers with very young children, do consider recording yourself talking or reading a children’s book. If you think you could be late for an older child’s event, give her something special before leaving home in the morning – a good luck charm or even a short personal note will suffice.

Ask an older child to make a video so that you can watch it together when you get back home. Hang pictures of yourself and your partner so that your child can see your faces. When there is a break at work, make time to call your child just to say hello. Hearing her voice will make it easier for you to get through a rough patch during the day. Or your child will be comforted to know that you are close by. Create special activities: Create activities that regularly fit into your family’s schedule, so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to. Making time for your family is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends. This will help nurture family dynamics and give time for everyone to bond. 

If you’re pressed for time, schedule a family night with boardgames, a movie and some snacks and treats to cheer everyone up. When you are out with your family, never discuss work or keep checking your phone. Instead, focus your talk on your child’s interests or teach your child a new song. If you have older children, ask what they want to do and ask what they would need to make it happen. It is never a question of what you will be doing, but having fun doing it together.

Set aside time for your partner: When you’re busy with work and home, your partner is the first one to feel ignored or neglected. So don’t forget to nurture this relationship.  Your partner is often the most likely person to stick with you during the ups and downs of life. Foster this relationship and bring back some excitement to the marriage. Go out on a date, focus on each other. Remember, being together needn’t be expensive. Create moments that you will cherish, get creative!

Eat healthy and avoid street food, this way you can sustain your energy levels. After all, how can anyone enjoy anything if their energy levels slump and are feeling tired? So try and do things that help you to relax. Do yoga, or have an invigorating bath. Be energetic, not cranky. Do simple things that even the smartest moms seem to overlook. Relax and set the pace.

Building an effective support network: Whenever you feel guilty, it will be hard to focus and remain productive. But once you have an effective support system to rely upon, you will be able to feel more productive and fulfilled, both as a mom and as an employee. This is why having a good support system in place is a necessity when you are a working parent.

But first, remember to choose who you can turn to for help.  wisely. Start by first selecting the right school and caregiver so you don’t have to worry about your children while at work. Knowing you are not alone and having someone at work to talk to is great for maintaining sanity when things don’t go as expected. 

Always being honest about what is going on in your own mind will prompt others to open up and do the same. When you are able to laugh, cry and express yourself freely, you will let off steam and reduce stress levels.

Millennials are going to have a big say

Millennials and Work-Life

Research shows that Millennials put great emphasis on corporate social responsibility, have a great reverence for the environment, place higher worth on acquiring experiences, and are adept at building communities around shared interests.

These distinctive and widely shared attitudes and beliefs of this generation will slowly, but surely, reshape corporations in their image and end the confrontational and bottom-line-oriented world that earlier generations have created.

In short, they want to be highly engaged in what they do and smart business leaders need to harness the sense of mission or risk losing these highly committed employees to more purpose-driven companies.

These millennial workers are projected to account for 75% of the workforce by the end of 2025. Many of them are already on their way to redefining what “work-life balance” should look like. Ensure that it plays a big role in creating a healthy work environment that is in line with their beliefs.

Maintaining a work-life balance helps reduce stress and avoid burnout in the workplace. By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, businesses can save billions of dollars and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce. But what exactly does work-life balance mean to this generation?

Working parents from the millennial generation want to be great at everything: flying high at work, raising great children, living a healthy nutritious life, going on vacations, and all the while having a well-organized organised life. They also want to be all things to all people and do all this in order to achieve serenity, happiness, and a feeling of balanced living.

How My Gym helps you take back control

My Gym: Child Development

One effective way to help young children be occupied and stay engaged in positive activities while you are away at work is by involving them in physical activities that are inspiring and exciting.

My Gym promotes all-round development through dynamic games and physical movement to help augment the growth of neural networks in the brain. This helps children acquire critical social and intellectual skills, modify behaviours, enable them to navigate complex social situations and nurture emotional development to lead a healthier way. 

My Gym also runs enrichment programs that lay a firm foundation for personal and future growth by involving children in age-appropriate, structured and unstructured play designed to develop thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Please visit any of My Gym centres to learn more about how it can support “whole-child development”. Choose a day when you are relatively free and come over with your child in tow. Your child could be an infant (as young as 6 months), a toddler or a preschooler, age is not a bar to learn how your child can thrive even in your absence. Enjoy her day without missing out on anything!

Please note: My Gym classrooms are thoroughly sanitized every day — the tables, the chairs, the children’s activity stations and everything else the child might touch is made safe and clean. Whenever required, children are encouraged to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing as well.