By Janet Domke, RN BSN
Working parent guilt is real. Today, in many households one, if not both parents work outside the home. Many women (and even some dads) after having children say they feel guilty about leaving their children and going off to work. It is not an easy choice but one many are faced with to be able to provide for their families. But the question is— is it really guilt?
Guilt is something we’re supposed to feel when we have done something wrong. It’s an emotion that helps us do better next time or make things right. Working parents are not doing anything wrong by contributing to their family’s financial security or contributing to society. But the overpowering sense of missing their children – leaving them and not spending as much time with their children as they would like – is sometimes mistaken for guilt. It’s not guilt; it’s a sign that we care. We care for our children, our families and our careers and we want to do our best in all areas, which can be overwhelming at times.
One of the biggest challenges in life is finding balance between family and work. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance helps reduce stress and prevent burnout (and those feelings of parental guilt). Chronic stress is a common health issue that can lead to hypertension, digestive issues, cardiovascular issues, mental health issues, and in some cases pain. Prioritizing and making the most of your time are important to your health. Here are some tips for finding the work-life balance that’s right for you:
- Organize your schedule
- Know your limits
- Be realistic – you cannot always excel at everything. Some things are only going to get 70-90 percent of your attention.
- Make “me time” a priority. You must take care of yourself. Take time to relax and rejuvenate. Participate in daily meditation, deep breathing, or a long bath -whatever allows you to stop and take a break. De-stressing is the name of the game.
- Make time for your partner. This is your biggest advocate, the person who chose to love you unconditionally, the person who also wants to see balance in your life.
- Nurture your social side with friends and work colleagues. This is an important part of life balance.
- Get off the phone. The people in the room with you are more important than those who email, text, and IM you. Get your head up, make eye contact, and give the people in your presence your attention. Your phone is one of the biggest distractors of your life.
- Be Mindful. Whatever it is that you are doing, be present and aware. Mindfulness is at the root of life balance.
“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family”. – Philip Green, British Entrepreneur
Janet Domke, RN BSN is the clinical coordinator for Mather Hospital’s Bariatric and Robotic Centers of Excellence. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Stony Brook University and has completed courses in Holistic nursing. She joined the Bariatric team at Mather Hospital in 2014 and is pursuing her certification in bariatric nursing.