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Managing work and personal life - coping with parenting

Raising children requires you to think very differently about work-life balance. If you are a single parent, the challenge is even more demanding; perhaps it is the most demanding situation possible. Indeed, kids change everything and you, (and hopefully a partner) must be there for your child—especially in the early years. Of course, if you have an extended family or can afford day care, that helps. If you don’t have either, managing both your career and family responsibilities becomes very difficult; there are fewer options.

Determine the Compatibility of the Demands
You are now in a good position to see which demands are compatible with your needs. For example, you might need to be at home to pick up the children at 3 p.m. each day, but that is impossible because you can’t leave work. Analyze your needs and demands against your constraints. Determine which demands can be accommodated and which need to be reduced or eliminated.

Make the demands on your time more compatible with your available energy and resources by sharing them, if possible, with family members or co-workers so they can be managed more advantageously. Be imaginative; for example, think about:

· asking an extended family member for help with the children
· asking a trusted peer parent to also take your child to school
· paying for childcare
· hiring a housekeeper to help with chores
· finding a babysitter and helper

Consider Changing Your Lifestyle
Rather than trying to manage a stressful job and family, consider delaying your career while you raise your child by taking a job with less stress and fewer demands, maybe one that allows more flexibility or includes more family oriented benefits. With a different lifestyle, you could think about taking a career break and staying home to meet family responsibilities if you and your partner can manage on one income. That would result in two major benefits:

· each of you will have clear and manageable responsibilities and won’t be stretched too thin;
· you will share increased time and energy for looking after each other as well as your collective responsibilities.

What to Avoid
You Fail To Discuss the Impact of Your Stress with Your Organization
In general, employers are becoming more enlightened about the need to offer flexible hours and other concessions to dual career and single parent households. Your employer, however, may not be aware of what your specific needs are. Learn how to make your case without being belligerent and keep an attitude of finding a solution both you and your employer can live with. If your employer is unwilling to allow you to alter your schedule and no relief is possible, it may be time for a change of employer, lifestyle, or career.

You Want It All
Popular myth tells us it is possible for a dual career couple to raise their children and still live the exciting life. It may be possible, but it is very rare. The problem, however, is that many people believe it should be possible for them and hold this belief until the stress finally brings them down. It may be possible to have all you want if you are willing to accept the fact that it need not be all at once. Talk about this with
your partner and figure out what makes most sense to both of you.

Reference BNET courtesy of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica

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