These days, most of us work two jobs-the one that pays, and the one we love (at least most of the time): raising our kids.
On the messageboards at iVillage.com, they have great tips on how to make it easier to do both at once. It's also a great place to share advice of your own, and to get support if something's getting you down. And though it's mostly for Moms, working Dads can find plenty of helpful advice, too.
Here are a few of the best tips for balancing work and family:
Get up before your kids do. Painful, but worth it. Getting that extra 15 minutes of sleep is nothing compared to the calmness you'll feel if you get up and get yourself ready first. Whatever it takes for you: work out, take a shower, get the coffee down your throat. When your act is together, it makes it easier to get their acts together.
Prep ahead. You do it at work, why not do yourself a favor and think a few steps ahead at home, too? This can mean anything from picking out their outfits for the next day before going to bed, to making lunches the night before, to keeping casseroles frozen for fast and easy dinners. A little prep can prevent a mad dash.
Stick to a routine. Whether it's getting dressed in the morning, or eating dinner at night, make sure your kids know what to expect when, and what's expected of them. A lot of melt-downs can be avoided by everyone knowing the plan.
Stay involved with your kids' care. Okay, so you work during the days, but that doesn't mean you can't be an active participant in your kids' daycare or school. If you can't drop in for lunch like stay-at-home parents, maybe you can bring in an activity for the kids, or a snack. Or you can use your work skills to do something for the class, like build the kids a little website, or cut out the patterns for a class project. Your kids will feel like you care, and so will the school.
Save some time for you. Make sure when all is said and done that there's some time for you and your partner to be adults together. It can be a lunch date, dinner once a week, or even renting a movie. Just build it into the schedule. It'll help you feel better about all the demands on your time. Because if you're not a happy camper, you can't expect the other campers to be happy.
We all have to do what it takes to keep the ship afloat. Hope these tips help to give your ship a little more buoyancy.
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