Monday, 15 June 2015

Getting rid of guilt pangs for working parents

Let's face it! Being as a working parent comes with more cons and less pros. If there is no one to accuse you verbally then the mind is enough to prick you with numerous guilt pangs and accusations. But still you work! Because work is as significant to live with as family. No judgement on that! Absolutely not.

A while ago I was reading this Indira Nooyi's interview (a very interesting eye-opening piece) and it got me intrigued. So a thought of writing a post fusing it with my own experience and what do I really think on the matter hit me. The idea sounded pretty great in my head. So here I am...talking on the subject without any guilt.

Stop blaming yourself.

First and the foremost, the concept of having a perfectly balanced professional and personal lives does not exist. You may strike an almost near perfect balance but given the demands from both the lifestyles, absolute perfection can never be achieved. At one or the other front you will always be lagging behind. So stop accusing yourself. Accept that you can not be present for Parent-teacher meeting and the board meeting at the same time. Choose the more inevitable one and send your spouse or any other family member to attend the PTM (because no one can give your presentation at the board meeting but you).

That's what the article says!


Finding alternatives is a good idea!

Trust me! Finding solution to the issue is way better than Finding Fanny (a bad joke I know but smile anyway). Let's look at some...


At work place - 

  • Maintain a discipline and finish your work on time.
  • Less gossip more work leads to achieve wonderful results.
  • If working in a team, take help of others too on the project to achieve faster, and better results on time.
  • Hatch the difference between urgent and important tasks. Urgent tasks usually top the priority list. So finish what's urgent first and then shoot for important ones.
  • Keep yourself updated about your profession. This will make you a quick learner, and a deft thinker. It will culminate into more understanding of the work in relatively lesser time slot.
  • Tidy up your desk before leaving. 
  • When at work place, be 100% there. Digressing your mind can hog more of your time and may be end up in an extra hour of work load.
  • Switch off all those wordly distractions. It helps a lot! At least it works wonders for me.


At home - 


  • Work faster. With physical work, the biggest benefit can be that you can have a little control over the speed. Keep your mind cool and speed up the pace you work with. I work fast and probably that is why my cooker whistles much before my neighbor's.
  • Like at work place, maintain a discipline at home too and take help of other family members in doing that. First, it's their home too. Second, they need to polish the sense of responsibility and third, the physical strain will be divided. All this comes with more free time in hands. Use it the way you like it.
  • Tasks such as paying bills, changing the kitchen bulb, repairing washing machine, cleaning a month long overdue refrigerator etc. come under urgent tasks while changing bed sheets, the extra coat of paint in a room, the broken watch etc. come under important tasks. Consider before you step up!
  • When at home, be at home. Leave the work load and the stress caused by it in your office desk. Just enjoy being at home. Give occasional kisses and warm hugs. Make delicious coffee. Order your favorite Chinese food (yum!). In short, make the maximum fun time when at home.
  • Hire a cook/caretaker, if you are unable to strike a balance especially with cooking two/three meals a day. Several of our friends do it and they see no harm in it. As long as the food is less oily, hygienic and good in taste, try it.
  • Sometimes I get so busy working over a scene that I feel like world will crash if I stop writing now. So I ditch cooking dinner in those times (not that I do it always! mind you :)), call my husband and tell him to bring some simple take away. The idea works best when it becomes inevitable to work at home and there is no one to cook except you. Instead of feeling guilty for getting late to cook the meal, order from outside! Kid/s will be happy too.
  • Switch off all those wordly distractions. It helps a lot! At least it works wonders for me.
  • Clean the kitchen before hitting bed.


Take help of teachers/manager.

Sometimes being unaware about the home situation leads to a bad understanding between the class teacher and parents. It all comes down as a suffering to the child. Talk to the teacher if you are not able to make it for the school annual function or the exhibition. Explain wisely but in honest ways. Teachers are usually very appreciative and give away unexpected understanding. This way you will be saved from another guilt pang for not being able to attend the school activity.

In the same way, if the manager is understanding, talk about the difficult situation at home. Hopefully your manager will understand it and allow you to take a little liberty on some fronts.

Use work from home (WFH) option.

It comes really handy but don't use it unnecessarily. Once in a blue moon, use WFH option. This way you can be around with your family as well as work. Bingo!

Magical 30 minutes.

So what if your work demands maximum of your time. You still can try to manage your home life. Before going to bed, spend 30 minutes talking to the family as a group. Share your day experiences, listen to their's, talk, talk and just talk but make sure such 30 minute ends up on a good positive note. A relaxed guilt-free mind is all what you need before closing eyes.

Take a break from both!

We make sure to have a fun trip every month. A simple weekend get away usually works best. This way, none of us has to stress about our professional and personal lives. In fact, enjoying outside minus the stress of work desk or the kitchen makes it easier to strike the balance. Call it rejuvenation, reincarnation or simply the energy got multiplied, it gets simpler to get back to work again. Hence, take a break.

Be accessible and thoughtful.

Whether at work or at home, be accessible to important calls. But only to important calls. If a sudden change in the upcoming Saturday meeting is important then it is also important when you kid or spouse wants to drop a call for a simple hello. Each of them has their own significance. Just because meeting earns you hard cash, do not avoid sentiments. It can earn you trust and emotions which, in my opinion, are much much better than money.

Well...these are my best views on the matter. Enjoy being both, the pro and a house bird. Each of them comes with different challenges and multiple rewards. Point is, how well you balance your mind. I guess this makes up for another post (balancing mind I mean).



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