Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Being a working parent is hard. Working is hard. Being a parent is hard. Life is hard. Life is also what we make it though. Anything worth having is worth all of the effort and work we put into it. In the eight years that I've been a parent and also a career climber, I've learned that I have to plan or I simply won't prosper. I have to be organized and I have to be mentally well in order to keep this very busy train moving. I've also learned to pay attention to what other parents and career people like me are doing to thrive and stay afloat. So, here are 5 things that I think every working parent needs.
A calendar system
Time management is everything when you have to juggle multiple things. I use multiple calendars including the one on my iPhone (which is synced with my work calendar and Gmail calendar, a planner, sticky notes, and a board on the refrigerator at home.
On a daily basis I’m responsible for hundreds of things so if I forget to take note of something in my calendar, the entire day can be thrown off. Use your calendar system of your choice to keep up with appointments, due dates, pay days, projects, extracurricular activities, meetings, and school functions. I also like to use stickers and highlighters to make things stand out.
A self care plan
Being a working parent often leaves us with little to no time for ourselves. When this happens we become overwhelmed, stressed and unable to perform in all of the areas of our lives that we have essentially built. I had to learn the hard way that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to be able to take time to keep yourself healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. In doing this we have to have a self care plan that we actually follow.
I like skin care products so I give myself a facial on Saturdays. I make it something I look forward to. I also like to tune out everything and watch a silly show. This helps my mind to not wonder and I can relax a little. My cousin who is a therapist recently reintroduced the concept of keeping a journal to me so I’m also incorporating this into my self care plan. The idea is to make sure that every week I take at least one day to do something to improve my overall peace and happiness. Start out with 30 mins a day. Do yoga, listen to your favorite album, take a walk, do lunch with an old friend. Make a realistic plan to get back to your happy place in the midst of your busy life.
A vent buddy
This one can be difficult. I don’t like telling my business to people for multiple reasons but mostly because I like to handle everything (my toxic trait lol). I have found that when I hold everything in, I take it out on the wrong people at the wrong time. This is also why it’s important to have meaningful relationships as adults. That’s a blog post within itself but it’s beneficial to have a personal network with similar interests and goals. Those things called friends are more important that we realize.
Find a trusted person that you can vent to that will listen and offer constructive criticism as needed. If it helps, make a deal to also be their confidant. If you’re not comfortable talking to someone that you know, there are confidential hotlines that can help. One in particular that offers free services and resources is 7Cups. You can also use the journal technique to get out all of your thoughts.
A family project
When we spend time with our family, we’re often driving to a game or activity, fixing dinner while homework is happening, or reading a story before bed. Our schedules can get so hectic that we try to multitask and it takes away from the magic of quality time. Sure, my daughter loves to play with her dolls by herself while I scroll on Pinterest but we also have to be sure we’re spending time doing something we both enjoy together My daughter loves to paint and I’ve found that it’s something relaxing I also enjoy. Maybe you and your family enjoy board games or trying dinner from special restaurants. You may want to do a project around your home like building a tree house or breakfast nook. You don’t have to do the activity every single day, but just like date night, incorporate it into your busy life and turn off everything else. Yes, step away from the phone, email and TV to focus on the activity and your family. You can do it.
An end goal
Why do we work so hard if we don’t have an end goal in mind? We work for a reason but many people don’t know what their actual end goal is. It’s not just to live well or make a lot of money. Get specific. Knowing what you’re working for can change the way you work and help you to relax and stay focused on the goal in mind.
My end goal is to be in a top tier leadership position in my organization that gives me the resources and network to
provide my daughter with a college education and savings account into adulthood. I also plan to retire at 50 years old and have investments that create wealth for my future spouse (hint, hint) and children. I work to be able to travel and buy all of the items on my Pinterest boards. I also work so that I can put others in a position to better their lives.
Take a deep look at what you want to achieve. Identify your end goal and then create a plan to get their. My work at my organization, my freelance work and the companies I’m building are my bridge to a better life. What is yours?
Need help aligning your day to day life with your goals? Email me today for personalized tips.