Many working parents who feel fulfilled at home and in their careers will give the same piece of advice: Get the idea of “balance” out of your head. Rather than trying to divide your life into “work-only” and “home-only” periods, it’s better to integrate your career with your personal life as much as possible. The first step to accomplishing this is to take advantage of remote work or flexible scheduling options offered by your employer, if you don’t already.
“Employers are becoming increasingly willing to offer flexibility around when and where work is done,” said Donna Levin, co-founder and vice president of policy, corporate social responsibility and workplace solutions at Care.com. “One or two work-from-home days can give parents a few extra hours in their week by eliminating the commute. And being able to start the day early and leave in time for a doctor’s appointment or after-school pickup affords parents the ability to meet their responsibilities at work and at home.”
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Another way to integrate home and work is to get your family involved in your career. René Banglesdorf, CEO of aircraft sales and acquisition firm Charlie Bravo Aviation, noted that bringing work home — or bringing them into the office, if allowed — can help your children understand your job and remind them that it’s an important aspect of your life. “Share your professional victories with your kids,” Banglesdorf said. “If you have an interesting project, or there’s an accolade someone is earning, [it’s good] to have your kids participate in or hear about that.”
“With my children, I try to engage them in little ways that can be fun and also avoid them feeling like they are separated from that part of my life,” added Melissa Holland, president and founder of maternity bra line BeliBea. “Even if it is something as simple as organizing files or looking at color swatches, these little things can really help them feel included.”
But don’t think integration means helping the kids with homework during a conference call, or coordinating after-school activities while you’re in a meeting. Regardless of whether it’s personal or professional, give the task at hand your undivided attention. Daehee Park, co-founder of mattress brand Tuft & Needle, advised blocking off times in your schedule for work and home responsibilities — and sticking to it.