Do you feel the stress of balancing work and family life?
For parents, keeping up with their children’s activities along with their own careers can be challenging.
A recent survey published by Pew Research Center found that both parents work full-time in 46 percent of all two-parent households. Approximately 56 percent of working parents also said it’s difficult for them to balance their job and family responsibilities.
“Balancing work and family can be a very difficult thing to do,” says Dr. Kevin Krippner, clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill. “For most people, there really isn’t enough time to do both at an exceptional level. It’s very important for people to give some careful, honest thought about what will be the priorities.”
Dr. Krippner suggests couples sit down and discuss the subject at length. He says decisions about priorities are important, as well as the specific distribution of responsibilities within the home. Oftentimes, it’s to eliminate some things from a parent’s life because there isn’t time to do everything.
Of those surveyed, 50 percent of fathers who work full-time said they spend too little time with their kids. This was also true for 39 percent of moms who work full-time.
To help parents make the most of their time with their children, Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill, says families should have a goal of being intentional about their time at home.
“This doesn’t mean that everything needs to be planned out or full of activities,” says Dr. Traeger. “Instead, when you are with your kids, actually be with your kids and turn off the phones, TVs and computers. If you look closely at your schedule, you can find some things that will free up time each day to have quality time with your family.”
While parents can work together to create balance with work and family, employers, including Advocate Health Care, based in Downers Grove, Ill, offer specific programs designed to help their associates do just that.
“We offer cumulative paid time off instead of vacation days, sick days and holidays,” says Kim Dwyer, vice president of Benefit Services for Advocate Health Care. “This means an individual’s time off is all in one place so associates have the flexibility to use it as they need it.”
For those working in patient care, Advocate offers various scheduling options and a “weekender program” where patient care associates work two 12-hour shifts each weekend. Dwyer says these opportunities give parents the opportunity to save money on daycare and spend more time with their kids.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.