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The parent trap: recognising the challenges parents face

Parents face a unique challenge in trying to balance the expectations of work with their family responsibilities. This balancing act means that parents often report higher stress levels than their colleagues without kids.

In fact, according to our new Vhi Health Insights report into happiness in the workplace, 22% of parents report that their lives are very or extremely stressful. This stress is particularly felt by mothers due to the pressures of being an employee, partner and mother.

Spending time with family has been shown to increase overall life satisfaction but some parents may feel that it can create pressure on their own personal time too.

Oftentimes, parents will forego their need for a sick day in case they need to look after a sick child. It’s therefore imperative that parents are supported by their workplace and strive to strike a balance between work and family life.

Spending quality time with family, aside from creating a stronger emotional bond, can help everyone in your family attain a healthier lifestyle. It can also reduce isolation which in turn can reduce our stress levels.

Time management

It’s easier said than done but good time management is essential to avoid falling into the parent trap of taking too much on at home and at work.

Start by assessing how you’re spending your time. Log what you’re doing at work and at home every day for a week. This will allow you to manage your time more effectively and could show you a way to enhance your family time.

Another way to increase family time is to include all members of the family in everyday household chores. Things like cooking dinner, cleaning up and folding laundry are all ways of managing your home life and increasing your family time together.

Bringing your kids to school on a set day every week, picking them up at a set time every week or making time to partake in a weekly family activity can all help to enhance quality time and form habits which will be hard to break.

By finding the right balance between work and home life, parents will be able to take control of their workplace happiness, increase their self-esteem and reduce their overall stress levels.

For more articles on workplace happiness, click here.