Estimate Time3 min

Work-life balance as a parent

There’s an old cliche about people who “live to work” and those who “work to live,” often implying that working harder and longer is better. Throwing parenting into the mix can add even more strain to your time and energy, but for many parents, it offers clarity on the importance of prioritizing your family. 
No matter how you prefer to balance your family and career, it has to be right for you—not for anyone else. It’s not always a 50/50 split either, sometimes it’s 30/70 or 60/40. All workplaces have different policies and expectations, but you should always advocate for yourself. 

What is work-life balance?

Simply put, it’s how you choose to divide your time and energy between your career and your personal life. It’s something that matters to parents and nonparents alike. 
For parents, family obligations often grow, demanding more time and energy on the life side of the scale. It’s important to remember that there’s no perfect formula, but there are always ways to adjust your balance to suit your goals. 

How parenting can affect work-life balance

  • You may have less free time and energy for hobbies, outings, vacations, and friends—this balance ebbs and flows over time, as kids get older. 
  • Your personal life is more demanding than before, compared with your work life. However, people are often forgiving of parents, especially other parents. 
  • Proactive planning becomes far more important, and you may feel that you need support from family, friends, and those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! 
  • You might find that going to work provides a routine and structure, balancing what can feel like chaos at home. 

Tips for finding your best balance as a parent

Balance will look different for everyone and can change as your home or work needs change. Here are some specific tips to help you find what balance looks like for you. 
Time management 
  • Ask for help. It’s OK to lean on friends, family, and neighbors. You might also find it helpful to connect with local community resources or parenting support groups. 
  • When you get some free time, even just a few minutes, try to be intentional.
  • If you have one, supercharge your commute: Listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and use the time for phone calls to family and friends. 
  • If it’s an option in your line of work, explore remote working options to reduce commuting and increase time at home. 
  • If you can afford it, think about budgeting a little extra for food or grocery delivery services. 
Home life 
  • Make household tasks a team sport. You can work together to lighten the load and renegotiate when things get out of balance. 
  • Prioritize some family quiet time. Even a 5-minute break can help you reset and refocus. 
  • If you can, try to buy food and supplies in bulk, and cook bigger meals. Having leftovers to save time on future meals. Use that freezer wisely! 
  • Cook together—sharing the experience makes it more fun, and you’ll have more hands to help clean as you cook. Plus, you’re teaching skills that can last a lifetime.  
  • Try getting outside as a family. A change of scenery can be good, and you’ll model healthy habits for your kids while spending time together in the process. 
  • Remember to keep up with your own self-care

Get more Fidelity Smart Money℠

What the news means for your money, plus tips to help you spend, save, and invest.

More to explore

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.