I'm lucky. I'll say that right off the bat. I have a job that recognizes that I have a life outside of work. That is a rare and magical gift. I don't know what I would do without that. I know a lot of women aren't so lucky. They have to support their families financially, care for them emotionally and protect their physical well-being, all while maintaining jobs that make it hard for them to be the kind of parents they want to be. It makes a tough situation tougher.
Of course, I have one child in my house, and my husband and I work the same daytime hours. Therefore, there is no advice I can give to anyone without sounding like a celebrity with a nanny telling working moms to just organize their time better, or to hire a personal trainer so that making it to the gym is no big deal. What I can tell you is that even I have to try harder to make things run smoothly because, even with only one child in the house, finding time to be a family takes work. Career And Family: Can We Really Have Both?
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When we get home in the evenings, we have exactly two and a half hours to make and eat dinner, do homework, get the boy showered and get him in bed. Somewhere in there, we try to work in a little quality time, a phrase I used to hate but which I now totally get. With all of the rushing we do in our lives, it helps to grab on to any opportunity to be together.
We try to eat as healthy as we can, and cooking large batches over the weekend helps with that. But what we eat isn't the most important part; when we sit down together, we bond over a shared meal. It gives us a chance to talk at the dinner table and remember that we are a family. We discuss the events of the day, what's happening in the world, and we relate to each other. Of course, you can bond just as well over frozen pizzas or takeout. You don't need gourmet food to make it special. Just being there is enough, and it's all your family needs. But it's our little ritual, and we try to do to it as often as we can. Eat, Argue, Pray At Times, Feel The Love, Repeat.
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This family bonding has made my relationship with my husband stronger, and I think it helps my stepson to see us not just as parents, but as two independent, hard-working people who still make the effort to spend quality time together. I hope we're giving him a good example of how a working family can still manage to keep it all together. He may go to an after-school program and we may not have time for sit-down breakfasts every morning, but I hope these little moments reassure him that his father and I try to keep our family as stable as possible.
What do you do to keep family life in a positive balance with work? How do you touch base with your family during the day?