Parenting when both parents work

Balancing the often competing demands of work and family when both parents work can be challenging. Careful consideration and planning for your family and children’s needs is important and can alleviate some of the stress associated with a busy work and family life.

Choosing the form of child care for your child whilst you are at work is one of your most important considerations. If you have preschool children, choosing the form of child care to best suit you and your child is crucial. If you have school age children, they may need care before or after school. There are many types of care available, especially for preschool children including extended family, care by others in a home environment and different types of centre based care.

Try to choose the type of care for your child together. Think about who will do the drop off and pick up of your child from child care or school. Talk about who has the most flexibility in their job, who is able to adjust working hours to accommodate the child’s needs. If only one parent is able to do this then what is the other parent able to do to “share the load” of parenting and family tasks.

Caring for sick children can become a huge stress when both parents are working. It is inevitable that children become ill. It is useful to have one or two other adults, perhaps family members, who can be on standby to take over the care of the children when ill.

When both parents work, each parent needs to contribute equally to the care of the children and the running of the house. Both parents need to spend time together as a couple, spend time apart and spend time as a family.

Children need to feel a sense of belonging in the family, and that are loved unconditionally.

When both parents work, sharing household tasks is important. Resentment can build up if one parent feels they have the responsibility for all the household chores. Older children can assist in the chores, perhaps the whole family works on the house for several hours on a Saturday morning leaving the rest of the weekend free for family and individual activities.

In a family where both parents work each parent needs “me” time, when the other parent has the responsibility of the care of the children. This allows time to spend on an interest or activity or just have a break.

When both parents are working it can be difficult to find time to be together as a couple. Some parents feel this is another time they have someone else looking after their children instead of being with the children themselves. Parents do need time together to enjoy each other’s company and catch up on adult time and activities.