5 Things Successful Working Parents Give Up

Reaching a healthy work-life balance requires sacrifice.

Posted May 12, 2015

Juggling childrearing responsibilities with the demands of work takes a toll on many parents’ personal and professional lives. According to a Bellevue University study, 65% of Americans are stressed to their limits. Often, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and meet everyone’s needs.

While managing a career and family leaves most parents feeling guilty and frazzled, there are some parents who seem to be able to effortlessly balance parenthood with full-time work. But their ability to create a healthy work-life balance means they have to make a few sacrifices.

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Here are the five things successful working parents give up to achieve a harmonious work-life balance:

1. Their Pride About Asking for Help

Even in today’s world, it takes a village to raise a child. Asking for help requires humility, but seeking support can be one of the biggest keys to success. This is especially true for single parents.

Successful parents don't necessarily depend on others, but are often willing to trade favors. They may ask for help driving the kids to soccer practice in exchange for taking over weekend carpool duties for other busy families. When parents feel assured their children are in good hands, they're able to be more productive at work.

2. The Belief That They Need to Split Their Time Equally

Achieving a balance between career and children doesn’t necessarily mean the time is split evenly. Successful parents understand that there will be times when their family will need more attention and times when a career will demand more energy.

They don’t try to divide the time equally and fairly. Instead, they remain flexible. They evaluate their progress and determine where they need to devote their attention on a regular basis. When their work-life balance seems off-kilter, they readjust to meet the demand.

3. The Idea That They Have to Neglect Themselves

There’s a reason why airlines say that in the event of an emergency you should put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting anyone else. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t have anything left to give. When you’re feeling overtired and stretched too thin, it may seem incomprehensible to squeeze in a little “me time.” But, the fact is, those times when you feel like you can’t possibly spare a minute for yourself, are likely the times when you need "me time" the most.

Successful parents know that taking care of themselves helps their efficiency and productivity over the long-term. Although it’s important to get plenty of sleep and relaxation, exercise may be even more important. Engaging in daily physical activity could be the key to maintaining a balance between home and work, according to a 2014 study published in Human Resource Management.

4. The Desire To Always Make Their Kids Happy

Parents who achieve a successful work-life balance don’t live and breathe to make their kids happy. Instead, they strive to raise responsible children who will grow up to become responsible adults.

They’re willing to ask kids to help out around the house. They assign chores and teach responsibility without nagging or yelling. They establish clear consequences and aren’t afraid to follow through with them. They role model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment.

5. The Guilt They Experience About Working

Many parents would rather not work full-time, but for many families a stay-at-home parents that just isn’t an option. About 44% of full-time working mothers report their ideal situation would be to work part-time, according to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center. However, working part-time just isn’t financially feasible for many families.

Parents who successfully balance their work and home life, don’t waste time and energy on guilt over the fact that they're working. Instead, they either work on a plan to solve the problem - like work flexible hours - or they accept that they'll need to maintain a full-time job while raising children.

The reality is, many parents have to work to pay the bills. However, it is possible for working parents to be quality parents. Successful parents focus their spare time and energy on raising the children - not wishing they didn't have to work.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages. Watch the book trailer below to learn more about her personal story behind the book.