Working Parent Hacks
Do you know how our business got started? It was founded in 2011 after our president, Raven Dreibelbis, had her first child. She knew she wanted to keep doing what she loved, but on her terms. Eight years of hard work and fun later, and it’s still one of the best decisions she has ever made.
We are firm believers that if you want to build a hardworking team that is in it for the long haul, you have to set them up for success. To us, that means not making them choose between pursuing a flourishing career and building a thriving home life.
It’s not easy, though, and we’ll be the first to admit it. We’re a team of high-responsibility, high-achievers who take pride in anything we tackle in or outside the office. And we’re unwilling to sacrifice excellence on either front. So, like most things in this ever-changing world of ours, it’s a process that we’re committed to sticking with.
Here are eight of our top working parent hacks:
- Go all out on birthdays: If you can swing it, allot some of your PTO for each kid’s birthday every year. Make that day ridiculously and over-the-top about them. You don’t have to hire an entire circus to come to your house to entertain them, but make it special. Give them your full attention that day.
- Make the most of your commute: Change your perspective of the daily time spent in standstill traffic, on the train or subway. Instead of viewing it as a necessary waste of time, think of it as multi-tasking. From catching up on the news to professional development, commutes were made for podcasts. Record audio notes on your phone of key points you want to remember or follow up on. Often, this approach leaves us energized when we arrive home or at work, ready to take on the world.
- Practice self-care: We’re not soft, we’re pragmatic. If you’re playing the long game, self-care is necessary to avoid burn out – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Whether it’s spending time with a group of like-minded people, flipping giant tires in a CrossFit gym or enjoying the quiet of your house an hour before everyone else gets up…find something good for your soul, make it a priority and protect it.
- Schedule check-ins: If you’re a compartmentalizer, it can be hard to shift your mindset from work to home to check in with your family. But if in the great juggling act you leave for work in the morning while your kids are still in a deep state of REM, checking in with them before they leave for school or daycare just might give you the fix and perspective you need to goal crush for the rest of the workday. Block off five minutes on your calendar each day to Facetime and be part of their morning routine, even if you aren’t there physically.
- Avoid comparisons: No one has time for all the baggage that comes with this sneaky little game. The grass may seem greener, but it’s probably not. Every scenario has its ups and downs – find the best one for you and your family and cheer others on when they find theirs.
- Block time and batch work: If you have recurring tasks or projects that you can work ahead in, schedule time on your calendar to knock a bunch of the same subject out at once. Doing this will allow you to maximize your “in the zone” time where your attention isn’t split between 20 different things at once. Less starting and stopping leads to greater efficiency and output.
- Find your tribe: Cheesy as it may be, it really does take a village to raise tiny humans. Ditch the pride and ask for help. And in turn, when you’re asked for assistance, give it away freely, without judgment or expectation, every single time you can swing it.
- Give yourself a break: Spoiler alert: You’re going to fail. You’ve got a lot of balls up in the air, and from time to time, one is going to drop. Pick it up, learn from it and move on. You don’t have time to beat yourself up, and parent life has more than enough guilt as it is.
We might not know exactly what it looks like to “have it all” – but we refuse to one must choose between either a great career or flourishing family life. Here’s to finding balance, one hack at a time.