The American family structure has experienced a great evolution over the past few decades, leading nearly half of modern households to feature two full-time working parents. This means more moms and dads than ever struggle to juggle work, household chores, childcare and more. What do these shifts mean for parents and families? Researchers have been asking the same questions, and their findings offer helpful strategies as parents navigate life with two full-time jobs, children, all while establishing a sense of balance.
What does the research say?
According to Pew Research Center, in 2015 46% of moms and dads both work outside the home. This group has grown from 31% in 1970, which means for the first time in history, the majority of families consist of two parents who work full-time. This change in family culture has had a prominent impact on the division of household labor. While researchers have found that parents often share equally in chores, discipline, and quality time with children, moms still take primary responsibility for managing children’s schedules, taking them to appointments, and staying home from work if a child becomes ill. Moms and dads both now tackle the 40-hour workweek while simultaneously raising children, but when it comes to hands-on childcare, moms still do most of the heavy lifting. Even the majority of the cooking falls to mom on a regular basis.
Busy, stressed, and never enough time
Pew also reports that moms and dads both express feelings of dissatisfaction regarding the amount of quality time they have to spend with their children, friends, or one-on-one with each other. Of families surveyed by Pew, 56% of working parents with children under the age of 18 reported that family obligations often conflict with work obligations, leaving them to feel stressed and imbalanced. Despite the fact that most parents find spending time with their children as the most rewarding part of their day, there never seems to be enough hours available to relax and enjoy family time.
Evaluating the work-life equilibrium
Researchers have also developed strategies to implement a better work-life balance for busy parents. Start by asking these questions:
- Do I sleep enough?
- Do I usually finish my to-do lists?
- Do I do things for myself?
- Am I fulfilled?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you might consider implementing the following tips on how to keep your busy life in check.
- Create a family calendar: Recording all meetings, sporting events, and social activities on one, centralized family calendar can greatly reduce stress and help you avoid last-minute schedule changes and miscommunication. This can be done the old-fashioned way, on paper, and hung in a place for everyone to see, or consider making an electronic version that will sync to your smartphones and laptops. Find what works for your family, and stick with it.
- Leave work where it belongs—at work: Technology has made us accessible to our employers 24/7, which means we have a habit of never unplugging. Instead of responding to email from your laptop or phone throughout the evening, consider turning your devices off or leave them in another room, so you can engage with your family when everyone’s home together. In addition to giving you more quality time, this strategy will leave you feeling better rested and recharged for the next day.
- Create space for “me” time and make it a priority: As parents, we often feel guilty putting our needs first. But you should never feel selfish about taking the necessary time for self-care. Whatever you need to feel refreshed, make that a priority and kick the guilt to the curb.
- Take something off your plate: Rushing from activity to activity all day every day will leave you feeling run down and exhausted. Start cutting down on stress by developing realistic expectations on what you can accomplish in a day. You may surprise yourself and find a few items you can eliminate from your schedule. By guarding your time, and only taking on activities and commitments that fully benefit you and your family, you will achieve a greater sense of balance.
Supporting parents, one meal at a time
At Bambinos, we know the challenges parents face in their balancing act. That’s one of the reasons why we offer high-quality, nutritious food for your baby. When you let us make your baby’s food, you have time to play more and worry less. Every product we make starts with fresh organic ingredients farmed just for us. Instead of worrying about expiration dates and correctly sealed storage containers, you can rest assured that our frozen meals were custom designed with you in mind, supported by pediatricians and allergists for allergy prevention, all while offering superior flavor. Our mission is simple: Real food parents can trust, and flavors children will love. Learn more by visiting us here, and place an order today!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm
Institute of Social Research, University of Michigan: http://home.isr.umich.edu/releases/the-generation-x-report-food-in-the-lives-of-genxers/