According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the number of parents who work is far greater than a few decades ago.
Not so long ago in 1983, the number of parents who both worked full time was just 17%. The most recent Australian Census shows that in 2009 it had increased to 25%1.
Given that Australia is the most expensive country to live in, it’s no wonder that more and more parents are working while raising a family. In fact, recent media reports say Aussie parents work more than parents in other countries2 and 90% of Australian mothers always or often feel rushed or pressed for time3.
But, it may be surprising—especially if you’re a working parent and often feel rushed—that a study into the effects of parenthood on skilled workers found highly skilled working parents to be the most productive employees4. Another study by Ernst & Young found mothers who work flexibly are the most efficient5.
Tips for balancing work and family
Working parents reportedly have great skills when it comes to time management and organisation6. Although if you’re busy rushing from work to family and back to work, a sense of achievement may be the last thing on your mind.
Here are our tips for achieving work-life balance:
If you have endless to-do lists, consider using an online community noticeboard like Airtasker to post jobs and find people to help you with just about anything from mowing the lawn, and cleaning your home to writing a letter.
2. Create a supportive network
Pooling your time with that of other busy parents can help you share the load—and ideas for managing everything—with your community. See if you can share tasks like picking up the kids or minding them with another family or two. It may halve the time you spend while giving your children extra social support.
3. Look after yourself
When you’re looking for ways to manage all your responsibilities, be sure to factor in time for yourself. Doing things like exercising and spending a little time doing what you enjoy are as important for your family as they are for you. A healthy, happy parent is far more likely to raise healthy, happy kids so be kind to yourself too.
4. Set limits
When you’re evaluating all the responsibilities you have as a parent and an employee, be sure to set goals that are realistic and achievable. Keep in mind that the intensity of juggling your responsibilities may ease off in the longer term. For example, once your children reach a certain age they may become more independent which could leave you with more time to concentrate on other priorities.
5. Seek advice
Seek financial advice to help make sure your finances are under control and that the money you earn works hard for you and your family. And when it comes to teaching your kids good money habits, read our article about giving your kids money smarts.
1 University of Sydney, Flexible and part-time work in Australia: some responses to the need for worklife balance.
3 Research Division Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe, 2014, Matthias Krapf, Heinrich W. Ursprung and Christian Zimmermann.
4 Research Division Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe, 2014, Matthias Krapf, Heinrich W. Ursprung and Christian Zimmermann.
6 Research Division Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe, 2014, Matthias Krapf, Heinrich W. Ursprung and Christian Zimmermann.