Think back 20 years or so. The average family had 2 children, one parent who was the main income earner, and one home maker. Generally speaking, the father went to work and provided the income, and the mother stayed home to perform the unpaid work of raising the kids, doing the washing and making sure dinner was on the table and ready to eat by 6.00pm sharp. There was a definite equilibrium of balance.
Oh, how times have changed.
These days, it’s almost a non-existent notion that one parent works while the other looks after the family. The average person is working longer hours – 9 to 5 seems like something from the Stone Age. Employers demand more, and employees wanting to further their career happily oblige by increasing work loads and hours. More than likely the main income earner will leave before the kids wake up, and get home with dinner waiting in the oven, just in time to tuck the little ones into bed. Not to mention the secondary money puller, who has to fit managing the household to working part-time.
In addition, the creation of single parent families has steadily increased over the past 20 years which makes the challenge of earning sufficient income and finding suitable child care that much more difficult.
So how do we find the balance between Work Life and Family Life? Everyone’s perfect balance is not so perfect for others, so there are two key factors that will help you create the balance that’s right for your family.
1. Set Goals
You have probably heard it time and time again. If you don’t have any goals, how will you know where you are going? What are you aspiring to achieve? More than likely you have career goals and aspirations, so apply these same principles into your home life. Start by writing down and answering some simple questions.
a) What are your goals in relation to your family?
b) How would you ideally like to live your day, week, month, year?
2. Set a Timetable
Time Management is vital to succeeding in balancing your life. Once you have written down your goals, create a 24hour timetable broken down into half hourly increments. You can either increase or decrease the increments as you go along, but this will give you a platform to start with. Map out your day the way it is now. For example, 6.30 wake, shower and change; 7.00 breakfast; 7.30 out the door.
When you have broken your day down, try and identify pockets of time that can be used in areas that have been defined in your goal setting – like helping with your children’s homework, spending time with your spouse, time out by yourself etc. This may seem tedious, but you would be surprised at how much time you will find to work on your goals, and start creating and living the balanced life you desire.