Dear Barb—Doing it All

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am a mother of three children.  My husband and I work full time and have very demanding jobs and my kids are involved in a lot of sports and other activities.  We are both so tired all the time, we just want to relax on the weekends, but our kids want us to do stuff with them.  We end up feeling like we are bad parents.  It just seems like we can’t find the right balance between home and work life.  I have other friends in the same situation, and they seem to be able to manage it all.  What are the secrets to balancing work and family life, do you have any advice for us?  

Thanks, Tina.

Hi Tina:

Finding the proper balance between work and family life is challenging, but it can be done.  Everyone is anxious to do it all and only become overly stressed in their pursuit.  When people become over stressed their productively level drops and they accomplish even less.  Here are some tips for managing stress levels at work and at home.

While at work set realistic goals for yourself and prioritize your tasks.  If you find you can’t do it all, speak to your boss, he/she may be able to get you an assistant, or give some duties to coworkers.  Do not be afraid to speak up.  Also do not hesitate to offer new ways of accomplishing tasks.  Sometimes we get stuck in old ways when an innovative approach could be exactly what is needed.  Organize your workload by priorities and complete one task before moving on to the next.  Don’t work through your breaks.  Those few minutes to destress can make a tremendous difference to your productivity level and ability to deal with stressful situations.

Many of these same practices can be applied to responsibilities and chores at home.  Learning to say “no” is especially important, and something that most people find exceedingly difficult to achieve.  You cannot do it all.  Set your priorities and strive to achieve them.  Also spread out the responsibilities among family members.  Encourage your children to do some of the chores, with the promise that once everything is done, they will be able to do fun activities as a family.  As I said above do not be afraid to say no! You are not a superhero! Most importantly take care of yourself by eating right and exercising regularly.  At times you may practice all of the above and still feel stressed, don’t be afraid to speak to a mental health professional.  They will be able to point out additional ways to help with the home/work balance.  Thank you Tina and best of luck!

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