It’s Parent’s Week (21–25th October), so we thought we’d focus on issues that affect working parents today, and offer tips on how to utilise any benefits you have in the workplace.
Parents have an incredibly special role to play within our society. Why? Because not only do they provide unconditional love, care and support on a daily basis – which in itself is a selfless act, and pretty damn cool – they are raising our future generation.
But when it comes to working parents, the real challenge comes with juggling work commitments with parental responsibilities. Here we offer some advice to working parents, from knowing your rights as an employee to finding a work-life balance and overcoming the guilt.
Finding that work-life balance can be especially challenging with a family. For many working parents, it’s difficult to find time to factor in social events with colleagues, especially if they happen to fall outside of working hours.
If this is becoming a problem, and it’s having an impact on your relationships at work, then why not suggest a lunch or coffee break and try to make time to speak to your colleagues during the working day. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone – there will be many others in a similar position that understand and relate.
All employees have the legal right to request flexible working. For many, the flexible learning set-up allows them to better manage the daily responsibilities of being a parent. If this is something that interests you, then speak to your line manager or HR team to discuss your options.
Know your rights
Talk to your employer and find out what your parental rights are. Employers should be supportive and allow an amount of flexibility (within reason). Most are working parents themselves, so they should understand the challenges parents face when it comes to balancing parental responsibilities with the demands of work.
How to reduce guilt while at work
Guilt can be incredibly stressful, particularly when you have meetings, deadlines and projects to focus on. It’s especially hard for those who have just started work following maternity leave. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, and feelings of guilt are common and completely normal.
There are so many ways to manage this – read our blog: Have You Got Holiday Club Guilt for more information.
Self care: hints and tips
These days, people are adopting various strategies when it comes to reducing stress and practicing self-care. We are told to look after ourselves, eat well, exercise regularly, meditate, the list goes on. But what if you’re a parent with children to wash, dress and feed?
You’re not alone. In fact, there are a number of useful tips on self-care methods for parents that are both practical and achievable. These include the following:
- Arrange for childcare and schedule 1 hour per week (or more, if the budget allows!) for a coffee and chat with a close friend.
- Take a brisk walk in the park and listen to a podcast. This is a great way to get exercise, fresh air and engage in an interesting debate or topic of choice.
- Call a friend, parent or loved one.
- Keep a journal and write for a few minutes each night – it’s a lovely way to unwind and clear your mind for a good night’s sleep.
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