A child learns to ride a bicycle

Redefining what we think about work-life balance

It seems like we’re all trying to achieve that illusive work / life balance, but has anyone ever actually found it? And for modern families, you often feel like you’re being pulled in more than two directions once you add in things like chauffeuring kids to lessons and taking grandma to her medical appointment.

So maybe it’s time to change our perspectives and start to look at things differently. Here are some ways to make a shift and maybe get a few steps closer to ‘balance’ in the process.

Multitasking is overrated

We often get stuck trying to juggle multiple tasks at once. The problem is it means none of them are getting the attention they deserve. Try focusing on a single thing at a time. That way when you get home from work, you won’t feel guilty about focusing on family time… at least until the kids are in bed.

Banish parent guilt

As parents, we tend to feel guilty about pretty much everything. And feeling like we’re not there when our kids need us is a terrible feeling. But what if we change how we look at it. Through childcare, young kids are learning a sense of independence, and developing communication and social skills that can go beyond their years. And as everyone’s family life is different, trust that you are doing what’s best you and your family.

90% is more than good enough

You’d never fault your child for getting 90% on a test, so why do we find it so hard to accept anything less than 100% from ourselves? The fact is, no one expects you to be perfect… not even your employer. And if you open up communication with them, chances are they can relate to the struggle. So simply do your best and relax.

Take a ‘timeout’

Jumping from one task to the next can be exhausting. Give yourself a chance to decompress, even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes, before you jump into the next part of your day. Try getting off the bus, or subway, a stop or two early – or if you drive, take a quick walk around the block before you head indoors.

Say ‘No’ more often

Give yourself permission to say ‘no.’ You don’t need to accept every social invitation, every extra project at work when you already have more than a full work load, or that request from your child to head to a local museum for what seems like the 10th time this month.

Alone time is highly recommended

We hear a lot about self-care, but it’s something that can be difficult to work into busy schedules. So try to make a date with yourself at least once a month – even if it’s just to check out that super cute new café.

Asking for help isn’t failing

We spend years making connections and building friendships. And you’d expect these friends to turn to you if they ever needed help. Guess what? It goes both ways. If you find yourself struggling to catch up, ask for help because they totally understand and are there for you.

Know the one thing you won’t compromise on

For everyone there is something they cannot compromise on. Make sure you know what yours is and prioritize it every day. For some, it might be being home for bedtime stories, for others it’s those 30 minutes in the morning spent going for a run or Sunday dinners with your parents. Sure you won’t be able to make it happen 100% of the time, but like we said before, 90% is definitely good enough.

Be flexible

We often have expectations about how things are going to go, and when they don’t actually turn out that way it can be frustrating. But that doesn’t mean we’ve failed at anything, and sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise. Having a plan is great, but make sure there’s a little wiggle room.

Trust others

We get it. Letting go of control can be hard, but it’s also really important. If you’re parenting with a partner, trust that they can get the job done – like letting them make dinner the next time they offer. Sure their risotto might a little thicker than you like, but won’t it taste extra delicious because you got to chill out for 30 minutes while someone else was in the kitchen?

Dinner and a therapy session

Let’s face it, we’re not the only ones feeling pulled in all different directions. And sometimes all we need is a venting session with good friends. Sometimes great company, good food, laughs and dessert can do so much more than a therapy session.

And if you still find you’re having a difficult time coping, maybe it’s time to talk to a doctor or an actual therapist. With health insurance plans from Blue Cross, you can get comprehensive care that covers things beyond the basics.