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Working Parents: How do they do it?

Clinical Writer: 

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Being a parent involves taking care of yourself and at least one other human being. Lets add in maintaining a career on top of that, and most likely a significant other to maintain a relationship with as well. How is one supposed to manage several people and different aspects of their life cohesively and in a healthy manner?

According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2021, 89.1% of families with children had at least one parent employed. For married couples with children, 62.3% accounted for both parents being employed. Statistically speaking, there is a large portion of families who have at least one working parent. Being a working parent can make you experience guilt about not spending enough time with your children. I’m sure you’ve heard it at some point during parenthood, it’s all about balance. But how do we find that balance?

  1. Self-Care: The importance of self-care is vital. Now I’m not saying go all out every day, but you need at least a few moments of “you time” each day. It could be as simple as doing some deep breathing, listening to your favorite music, taking a nap, going for a walk, or even attending therapy. You don’t need to go to a spa or dedicate a whole night for your self-care routine. (That does sound nice though!) Making sure to prioritize your mental, physical, and emotional health will allow you to be the best version of yourself. 
  2. Be Mindful of Stressors and Time Management: If you know a big project deadline is coming up at work, pace yourself and complete the tasks in a timely manner so that work stress doesn’t overflow into your family life. You may have to pull some late nights after the kids are in bed or even miss out on family time, but it will be worth it in the long run. Setting boundaries at work and giving your team members realistic deadlines for task completion may help to better manage your schedule as well. 
  3. Partake in Bonding Activities: This could be as simple as making Friday night the designated pizza and movie night each week or as extravagant as creating scavenger hunts. Maybe your family is interested in puzzles, hiking, reading books, playing board games, or doing art. Give something new a try! This allows your family to bond and spend quality time together. Working parents may not have too much time to spend with their kids, so it’s important to make the most of that time. 
  4. Get to Know Yourself: Learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You know what will stress you out and empty your metaphorical cup. Try to limit your stressors as best as you can and enjoy the good times. Find what truly makes you happy and make time to do those things. Learn and explore healthy ways to cope such as: journaling, attending therapy, hanging out with friends, maintaining/establishing boundaries, loudly singing along to music in the car (we don’t judge), or sitting by a fire roasting marshmallows to calm your mind.
It’s tough to not feel like you’ve lost yourself in parenthood, especially when others are depending on you to survive. Being a working parent takes that feeling to the next level. You have the parent version and the work version of yourself. It can be challenging to find the right balance for you to feel satisfied with all aspects of life, but with time and patience (and probably
some trial and error), you’ll find that sweet spot.


Nomaguchi K, Milkie MA. Parenthood and Well-Being: A Decade in Review. J Marriage Fam. 2020 Feb;82(1):198-223. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12646. Epub 2020 Jan 5. PMID: 32606480; PMCID: PMC7326370.

United States Department of Labor (2022, April 20). Employment Characteristics of Families Summary. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

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