In today's fast-paced world, the demands of work and family life often intertwine, making it essential for working parents to find a balance between their professional responsibilities and their role as parents. Parenting in the workplace can be a challenging task, but with careful planning and effective strategies, it is possible to thrive both as a parent and as a professional. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips and insights to help you navigate the unique challenges of parenting in the workplace. We'll also look at how you, as a parent, bring additional skills into the workplace - soft skills that you can use both at work and home.
Idea #1 - Parenting and team work
I had a temporary job recently at a relatively small company, and had to figure out what my place was, and what I needed to do. The company owner asked me how I'd become operational so quickly. I grabbed the opportunity to explain some Adlerian theory! Adler (the psychologist behind the Positive Discipline framework) teaches us that we all have one basic goal - to belong and be significant. I was hired to fill a temporary gap - they were two people down in a three person team. So being significant (useful) was an easy one - there was LOTS to do! AND the team is lovely - they did a wonderful job of making me feel welcome - so I felt a sense of belonging.
Often, when talking with parents, they struggle with getting their kids to do jobs (either the kids don't want to, or the parents don't want to 'impose' chores).
But when we realise that that sense of contributing to our family actually helps our children feel like they belong, then our mindset around chores changes.
And, when our mindset changes, our kids feel differently too - they are part of our family team.
Want some tips on getting the whole family involved in chores? Have a look here.
Idea #2 - Parenting and Leadership
The other big thing I noticed in this workplace (maybe because it's a small team - I'm used to a workplace of 200 colleagues!) is how much you are influenced by the way the senior management behave - they really set the tone, even in a workplace where the hierarchy is relatively flat.
In the same way, we, as parents, are leaders of our family, and have a responsibility to model the things we want to see our children doing. When we tidy up after ourselves/have a healthy relationship with screens (guilty as charged!) then so will our children. Did you know that 93% of what we communicate to others is paraverbal - not the words we use - but our tone, our actions, etc.
Idea #3 - Parent as coach
One of the things I loved about being part of a small company is that I got to know each person individually. One of my favourite parenting/coaching tools is asking questions. At 2 years old that looks like 'shall we hop or run to the bathroom to brush our teeth'. With our teens, it looks like 'What's your plan for getting your homework done this weekend?'With my life coaching clients, it's more like 'What have you learnt about yourself', swiftly followed by 'What action are your going to take as a result of that?'
In the workplace, we can use coaching questions with our colleagues. For example, when a colleague is asking for ideas/solutions, might be 'well, what are your ideas? What if you did know the answer, what would it be? Or even more simply, when they tell you about their weekend, asking them what they particularly loved about doing x, and why. We can look for opportunities to take the connection to our colleagues deeper, get to know them better.
If you're curious about coaching, there's a slightly longer explanation on one of my blog posts, here
Idea #4 - Parenting and Encouragement
Encouragement - courage - cœur..
means (in my book!) giving someone else the heart (cœur) to go beyond what they currently think they're capable of. So, how do you put encouragement at the heart of your parenting? By noticing what your children are doing, and inspiring them. 'Hey, I notice you doing that puzzle - I wonder if you'd like to try this one next- it's got more pieces, and I think you'll really enjoy it'. When they're teens, asking what they were learning about in a class/activity, and engaging in a discussion on the topic, or inviting them to practice their skills to expand them. There's a fine line between encouragement and 'pushiness' To make sure it's their agenda, not yours, we're looking for their excitement about a topic/challenge (do you remember your toddler being engrossed in understanding how the street sweeping machine worked - those moments)
How do we bring that into the workplace? Look for those times when a colleague, or someone you manage, has been struggling with a problem, and 'notice' their successes. (Yes, there is a way we can do this without it feeling cheesy/patronising, I promise. Even those of us who are British and may be uncomfortable with 'championing' others!) I invite you to give it a try this week and let me know what happens!
Idea #5 - Work-life balance - an impossible task as a parent?
As a parent, finding a balance between work and family life can be particularly challenging. Trying to juggle work commitments and responsibilities with your children's needs and demands can often feel like an impossible task. As a parenting and life coach, I've worked with many parents who struggle with balancing their work and personal life. But this topic deserved its very own blog post, because I've got lots of tips for you - go have a look here
You are not alone - find your support network
Parenting in the workplace presents unique challenges. Remember, you are not alone, and many working parents have successfully navigated this journey - you can too. Want some support in doing that - click here to chat with me about life or parent coaching. Not ready for coaching? Grab my weekly newsletter.