In a recent Irish Times column, a mother posed a question that many working parents will identify with – how to tackle the stress of working and parenting. Parenting expert John Sharry gave some very useful advice while parents also shared their best tips for working and juggling home life. Here are Tips from Parents on Tackling the Stress of Working and Parenting:
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“I am a working mother with a beautiful five-year-old son, but I am finding myself struggling to get everything done, especially in the evenings. I have a pressurised job that is hard for me to leave on time. I rush out the door to collect my son from the creche. I get there by 5.45pm on a good day when I am not late (my husband takes him in the morning to school), then we get home after 6pm and there is so much to do.
I have to prepare dinner, get his homework done, not to mention all the household chores that have to be done. Often we end up in a fight, particularly around his homework as he is tired. Sometimes, I just give up and then I feel bad that I am not helping with his school work. He goes to bed at 8.30pm usually, but recently he has been wanting to stay up late, though he is tired. So bedtime has become a battle too.
It is all stressful.”
John Sharry points out “Working parents reading your question will identify with your struggle. Getting all the important things done in a tight time window is big challenge. This is especially so when you are dealing with work and commuting stresses, which can eat into your home time and this before you have to face the “normal” stresses of parenting a young child.”
You might also enjoy reading 6 Easy Work-Life Balance Hacks Every Mum can Use
John’s Suggestions for Tackling the Stress of Working and Parenting
- Focusing on creating a relaxed evening routine.
- Reviewing your priorities in the evening.
- Addressing external work stresses.
- Being really organised.
- Arriving at creche 10 minutes ahead of time and taking time to talk to his minder about the day.
- Arranging a relaxed time in car with option of playing music.
- Sitting with your son to have dinner/ light supper and having a ritual of sharing news.
- Reviewing homework (done earlier), commenting on what he/she has done well.
- Having play time for 15 minutes, letting your child choose the activities.
- Setting your child up with quiet playtime by themselves while you get some chores done.
- Starting a bedtime routine to finish with a bedtime story at the end.
- Planning some quality personal time, reading, watching a movie with partner and so on.
You might also enjoy reading 10 Quick Ways for Busy Parents to Reclaim Some Me Time
Parents’ Tips for Dealing with Working and Parenting
Parents added their own tips when the column was shared on Facebook.
Food & Meals
- Use online grocery deliveries, it saves time.
- Use a slow cooker or do weekend batch cooking. Cook up a double batch of each meal and you can freeze one.
- Take one day a month and cook a ton of dishes up like stews, casseroles, bolognese and soups. Portion them up and freeze.
- Get a cleaner if you can afford it. Or don’t stress too much about the house being perfect if you’re spending time with your child that’s the important thing.
- Leave the housework for Saturday morning. Two of you will fly through it in 2 hours and then it’s done for the weekend.
- Put the washing on before work and empty it that night.
- Make it a joint operation with your partner, e.g. one cooks, one does homework. Swap it up every night.
- Pick one chore to do a night, do it together and do not go past 9pm.
You might also enjoy reading 40 Chores For Kids Depending on Age
Quality Time with Your Child
- Give your child 15 mins’ free play – ideally outside – when you arrive home to decompress from school and give a snack.
- Use the drive home to talk about the best thing that happened to your child that day – gets them to reflect on all the nice things. And makes it a relaxing time.
- Make homework fun, lots of praise and get him to do the things he’s good at first.
- Look into taking parental leave of maybe one half day a week each. This means more quality time with your kid and less stress for all.
You might also enjoy reading 25 Special Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Child
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends!
Over to you now. Do you have any other tips for working and parenting that helps deal with the stress? Share them in the comments below.