Here are a few tips to help working parents feel more fulfilled — and ultimately be more successful — in their professional lives. Find a mentor. Your spouse or partner likely serves as your support system in your home life, but do you have someone who can help you in your career? Beth Kinane, vice president of new development for women’s underwear line Hush Hush, said that an understanding and flexible family can make your personal life easier when work gets demanding, but it’s just as important to have a coach or mentor who can help you grow professionally.
“It doesn’t have to be formal by any means, but just having people who you respect and can ask for advice, or just discuss ideas with, can make a huge difference,” Kiane said. Be accountable at work. If your boss allows you to take advantage of flexible work options, make sure you prove you’re accountable enough to keep that privilege. Part of that includes finding solutions to any scheduling issues that arise because of parental responsibilities.
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“If family dinner is important to you but your job demands long hours, then commit to starting your day earlier and hop online after the kids are settled in for the night,” Levin said. “It’s up to you to identify your priorities and figure out how to make it work.” Levin also noted that when discussing your work arrangements with your boss, always present the proposed solution ahead of the issue you’re trying to solve. For example, you should say, “Can I come in at 7 and cut out at 3:30 tomorrow?” instead of, “My after-school sitter canceled, so I need to leave early.”
Prioritize and set realistic goals. Just as you need to define parental success for yourself, you need a clear picture of what success looks like at work. Make sure the professional goals you set are attainable, given your current home responsibilities.
“The ‘having it all’ mentality can get in the way of truly devoting yourself to both your [career] and your family, and the more you are trying to juggle, the easier it is to feel distracted and discouraged that things are out of reach,” Holland said. “It’s key to step back and see what’s most imperative to achieve in both parts of your life and prioritize from there. Setting realistic goals for [yourself] is a big part of that.”