Work Life Balance
With 47% of workers identifying work hours have increased in the last 5 years, it is no wonder there is so much information and conversation about the concept of work life balance. Increasingly in Australia both parents are working and negotiating the struggle of the juggle. Did you know 65% of couples with children under 15 years have both parents working?
Talk to your partner and decide how you can support each other in finding the work life balance. There will be times when work may demand more of you (e.g. project deadlines) and then it can shift to family life needing more of your attention (e.g. children get sick), but it is important to share the load at home where you can. Remember, work life balance solutions are unique and what is suitable for one family may not fit with your family’s needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tips for work life balance?
Achieving work life balance is not easy as a parent! Dads are more involved and hands on than ever but are still working on average 50+ hours per week, so finding the balance is a challenge. Some tips are:
- Working flexibly can be helpful: This might be working from home one/ some days of the week or altering your start and finish times e.g. leaving work earlier to do pick up or leaving later in the morning to do drop off.
- Finding time to exercise is important: You may have a gym close to your workplace or a green space where you can take a walk or break. Exercising increases the release of hormones such as endorphins and serotonin which make us feel good.
- Switch off! We are so easily contactable 24 hrs a day and it can be hard to see where the work day begins and ends. This constant contact does not allow us to switch off and recharge, leaving us feeling burnt-out and consumed by our work.
- Identify what’s important to you: It might be connecting with friends or engaging in hobbies.
How do I remain connected to my family?
We are hard wired for connection! We all need love and affection from our family, especially our children. Even though the daily struggle of finding enough time may seem too difficult, there are lots of ways to connect. When children feel connected and that their emotional needs have been met, they are more likely to be confident, cooperative and will have less meltdowns. Remember it’s about quality not quantity!
Special play is a way to connect when you get home of an evening. Here’s how:
- Tell your child it’s time for special play- just the two of you. Just imagine how special and important they will feel
- Have a selection of toys that only come out for special play (blocks, trains, cars, cooking sets and figurines) - these toys invite imaginary play.
- All screens are off and not in sight.
- Let your child lead the play - follow their lead, imitate and copy them as they play. Let them know how much fun you’re having, delight and enjoy the moment.
- Praise your child and tell what they’re doing well – “I love the way you’re sharing your toys with me”.
- Don’t ask questions - when we ask too many questions we change the interaction and it becomes about us.
- Listen more, ask less questions and connect whilst doing an activity your child enjoys such as kicking a ball, playing basketball or colouring in.
- Spend time in the moment and not distracted- never underestimate the power of a smile or a cuddle.
- Make sure screens are nowhere in sight - children of all ages, even babies, know when you are distracted and it can make them disconnect as you are not fully engaged.
- Children of all ages love when their parents can see them do an activity, performance or attend an assembly, special event (father’s day breakfast) or excursion. Plan ahead and block out important events in your calendar/diary.
- Slow down! In our hectic schedules we can often rush children, which can lead to your child getting upset (you may see it as being uncooperative). See the world from your child’s perspective - this allows us to connect and be responsive to their needs.
- Create rituals with your family- family game night, Sunday breakfast, singing in the car on the way to school, making funny faces during bath time - it doesn’t have to be long, expensive or complicated but it is unique to your family. Your children will remember it forever.
Should I take time out for myself?
Yes! Looking after yourself is essential for your own health and the wellbeing of your whole family.
Juggling family time and work commitments can make it difficult to find time for yourself, but regular exercise, having a healthy diet, good sleep habits and some social time are the foundations for good health. Working out the amount of time and resources to spend on these can be a tricky but is an essential task to undertake. It can be useful to get a little creative on how you can achieve this and reinvent how your needs can be met in a way that fits with your new role.
When you are experiencing prolonged high levels of stress you are more likely to get sick, not perform as well and experience difficulties in your relationships, including with your child. This can put you at higher risk for developing postnatal depression and taking up unhealthy activities such as drinking more. So take care of yourself, you matter too!
Mental Health Services
Are you, or someone you know, feeling overwhelmed, worried or sad either during pregnancy or soon after the birth of a baby? If so, this could be Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD). PMD is very common – one in five women and one in ten men experience it as new parents. However help is at hand because Karitane has a great wealth of experience helping families in this situation.Learn More
Wellbeing and Mental Health
Dads Make a Difference
Mums and dads bring different things to the wellbeing of children. Dads are often more physical, flexible and have more of a give-and-take approach to play and interactions. While each parent will bring their own unique parenting style, there are some general truths that research backs up about the benefits that Dads bring to raising children.Learn More