Have you ever found yourself thinking about your child’s studies while in the workplace, affecting your work? Have you ever had a conversation with your partner where it ended up being nothing but a discussion of your child’s academics? As a parent, it is only natural to bear concern for how your child is performing in school. However, attempting to juggle this concern with your career and relationship can be a daunting task.
There are a number of difficulties that a working parent faces, creating the struggle to find a balance between work and your child’s education. The problems often include:
a) Difficulty in finding time to study with your child
When you are a working parent, just seeking the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with your child is difficult. The choice of whether to spend this precious bonding time on studies is a difficult decision to make.
b) Difficulty in consulting with the teacher
Speaking to your child’s teacher is, undoubtedly, one of the best ways to attain a general overview about your child’s academic standing. However, your child’s teachers are bound to provide assistance to a large number of other students as well. This, coupled with the possibility of a busy work schedule, may render it difficult to find a moment in time for both you and your child’s teacher to meet, hindering the effort to stay updated regarding your child’s progress.
c) Possibility of causing strain to your relationship with your partner
It is common for the parents of a child to disagree on the direction from which to approach a child’s education. It is also common for this disagreement to cause a strain on the relationship between the parents, which causes increased stress for the entire family, including the child.
d) Concern over your child’s academic performance might adversely affect your performance at work
Parents with schooling children may find themselves thinking on their child’s academics at every available moment, especially when the child is underperforming. Carrying these concerns to the workplace may restrict your ability to focus on your work, affecting your performance.
As a working parent, it is important to manage your time and organise your schedule to accommodate your career, your relationship and your child’s educational needs. However, this is a feat that is theoretically simple, but difficult in execution. Often, factors that lie beyond your control make it impossible to perfectly balance all these three areas of life. How then, can you ensure that sufficient attention is given to each of these fields? It seems like an unsolvable conundrum.
Tip 1: Adjust your assumptions
The answer is to compromise. Compromise and maximise. Often, we view these fields as completely disparate and differentiated. However, in truth, each of these areas often presents opportunities which pertain to the other two. Many parents do not realise these opportunities due to a presupposition that the events within each sphere – Work, Home relationship, and your child’s education – are exclusive and purely applicable to that sphere. Blinkered by this assumption, many parents do not recognise that rather than attempt to force balance between work, life, and child, it is far more effective to integrate these spheres and make use of them to advance the others. In this article, we will share a few possible options you may explore to this end.
Tip 2: Capitalise on time
Every successful capitalist understands the importance of opportunity. They never let a possible opportunity slip by, and that leads to success. Similarly, you should venture to be capitalists of time. Always be on the lookout for windows of time which can be used more productively. The commute to work can be used to listen to podcasts to self-improve. Small breaks at the workplace can be used to drop your child a call to check on them. Each window of time might be short, but by effectively capitalising on all such windows throughout the day, you can accomplish much more in the same span of time.
Tip 3: Forge alliances
As a working parent, one of the most valuable resources you have at your disposal are other working parents. Few can give better advice than another person in the same position, especially if they work in the same company as you. Use your break times and lunch hours to speak to other working parents and trade information. This information can be as simple as commenting on your child’s workload, or sharing your woes as a parent. From other parents, you can obtain valuable information about suitable tuition centres, useful assessment books, and the tricks that other parents use to maintain a balance between work, spouse and child.
However, do make sure you are contributing some value in return for this information. As working parents, you are all in the same position, burdened with the same concerns. Alliances are collaborations, which require the contribution of all parties. If you wish to attain information from your fellows, make sure you have some knowledge to provide in exchange.
Forming such alliances will greatly aid you in trying to achieve the ideal balance of the varying domains of your life, and allying with colleagues in the same workplace is even more beneficial: In times of emergency, they might be willing to lend their assistance in covering for your share of work. Again, make sure you return this favour, to ensure a smooth alliance.
Tip 4: Share the burden
One concern that plagues parents is the possibility of differing approaches to a child’s upbringing causing a rift in the relationship. To mitigate this, it is important to firstly establish with your partner a baseline for the direction in which you wish to take your child’s education. Ultimately, you and your partner must have an equivalent share in your child’s education.
Make use of your time with your partner to discuss and delegate your roles; alternating between yourself and your partner for aiding your child’s revision has the dual benefits of serving to lighten your load, as well as to allow both parents to feel intimately involved in their child’s development. This can be the foundation of a stronger relationship. The practice of discussion and negotiation can additionally serve as a way to improve and renew your partnership.
Always keep in mind that you are partners, and partners collaborate. Partners work together on a common objective – in this case, your child’s academic success.
These are just a few things that you can do to help create the ideal balance between work, your relationship with your spouse, and your child’s academic development. It might be difficult, but by maximising your time and making use of the resources available to you, this difficulty can be adjusted down to a more manageable level.