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How to Find Work-Life Balance When You're a Busy Parent

Being a working parent can sometimes feel like a juggling act. Aside from making sure you look immaculate for your business presentation, you also have to spend each morning making sure that the kids’ lunches are packed, their bags are ready and their uniforms are well-pressed. There’s also the marathon of coming home. After beating every red light to get past rush hour traffic, you have to fix a dinner several degrees above the standard microwave fare. And in all these you’ve yet to have “me” time. And spouse time. And time out with friends and family members. Whew!

But can you really juggle it all? Or is work-life balance for busy parents a dream that will never be realized?

The good news is: there are things that you can do to be better adept at providing quality time for all your needs. If you already find yourself knocking on burn-out’s door, or neglecting one aspect of your life in favor of another, then it’s time to consider the following tips on finding work-life balance when you’re a busy parent:

Have you tried to delegate?

It’s tempting to do everything for your kids; after all, good parents anticipate all their children’s needs, right? But you also want to teach you kids to be independent, and get them to learn some life smarts. So be watchful for things that your children can do for themselves, such as fixing their breakfast or helping one another with homework. You’ll free up time for personal needs if you make it a point to raise children who value self-sufficiency.

Set boundaries with your boss

You don’t have to take home work, you know! If your supervisor is a slave driver who insists you owe the company your family time, then it’s time to find a new job.  The good news is: the work-life balance movement has increased support for family-friendly options in the workplace such as telecommuting or setting up of day care centers in the workplace. And given that these options are cheaper alternatives (indeed, in this recession many would rather outsource business operations to work-from-home consultants), you won’t lack companies willing to give you a better deal. Just be more aggressive in defending your family time!

Find ways of mixing all worlds

Your time and finances are limited, which is why it’s better to look for ways work and life can mix, rather than carefully segregating them into compartments. Do you need a vacation and time to write a report? Then why not take the family to the nearest beach and do your work there? Interested in expanding your education? Then why not take a distance education program --- study your lessons while waiting for the pot roast to cook. Want to bond with your infant? Then start a home-based company so you won’t ever have to leave home. Multi-tasking is a skill that can give you the best of all worlds ---if you just apply it correctly!

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