by Kelley Jilek
It seems to be a fact of life that there is never enough time or energy to do everything we want to do. With many parents working outside the home, we are challenged to find a balance between what is required of us at work and at home.
Work and family sound like two separate entities. However, one often affects the other. For example, you may be distracted at work if you are worried about how your child will handle a field trip that day. Or you may have a rough evening at home because you had an unpleasant afternoon at work. Work and family are often not separate at all!
In addition to having a family and a job, many people hold other responsibilities such as caring for an elderly relative, being involved at church, coaching a soccer team, or being a scout leader. They can end up feeling like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. Stress levels will likely be high.
Make sure you are number one on your list of things to do. You need to be as well rested, physically fit, and healthy as possible in order to be able to take care of your many responsibilities. Set aside some time for you each day, even if it is only a few minutes. Do something you enjoy – take a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend, take a bubble bath, get a massage, or read. You will feel relaxed and maybe even have a bit more energy. Be sure to get enough sleep at night as well!
Establish a support system. As mentioned before, balancing roles can be very stressful. A spouse, friend, pastor, neighbor, or sibling may be able to help when you are feeling overwhelmed. Someone to talk to may be all you need!
Decide what really needs to be done. What things on your “to do” list can you eliminate? Learn to say “no” to requests for your time.
Taking care of a home is another job in itself. The tasks of laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, yard work, and maintenance can be overwhelming. Invite and expect your children to help with some of the chores. They will learn responsibility and gain a sense of belonging. You’ll be spending some quality time with your child while eliminating some of the items on your “to do” list!
A busy schedule can affect the entire family! Work on communicating with the members of your family. Take time to really listen to what your children are telling you. Take at least a few minutes after work or school to visit with them. This will assure them that they are important to you, and it will give you a chance to look for signs of stress in your child. Keep this quote from Theodore Roosevelt in the back of your mind– “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Remind yourself that you can only do so much…and that’s okay!