All working parents can attest to the challenges of balancing work and home life. Too much attention to one area can cause the other to suffer.
Striking a successful balance will have a positive impact on work and your children, but finding that equilibrium isn’t always easy and often doesn’t happen until the scale is tipped too far on one side.
Sallie Krawcheck, the former CEO at Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit and the current chair of Ellevate Network, shared her experience as a working mother and devised several habits that helped her navigate the business world and the parenting world.
Krawcheck admits mistakes were made, but she noted her successes and shared the smart habits of a working parent.
Keep your emotions in check
Any therapist will tell you not to bottle up your emotions, but for Krawcheck, keeping emotions out of a daycare drop will help ease the process. Whether you are leaving for a business trip, or just heading to the office, stay upbeat when leaving your children behind. The trick is finding the sweet spot between hiding your heartbreak from leaving your little one and appearing as though you're happy to be rid of them.
Once a year, and with each of your children, plan a weekend getaway. It doesn’t have to be lavish, but the break from routine, according to Krawcheck, will be favourably remembered by each child. If an entire weekend away isn’t feasible, even a day filled with special activities will mean a lot to a child.
The list of worries a parent has can reach miles, but with the Find My Friends app, you can cut your worries a bit. It may seem like an invasion of privacy, but Krawcheck would not allow her children to go out unless the app, which tracks your child's location through their mobile phone, was enabled.
This can be tricky, depending on the nature of your job, but if one parent has more flexibility in their schedule, that advantage should be used when a child has a serious health problem. According to Krawcheck, she stayed by her son’s side while in hospital. Working is important, but no child should feel they come second to a job. This treatment does not apply, however, to the common cold.
Call of the wild
If a child is yelling “Mommy” during the middle of the night, it doesn’t mean that daddy won’t do for the midnight meltdown. “We took turns finding the pacifier, getting the glass of water, looking for the monster under the bed, and it made all the difference,” Krawcheck said.
Success and failure
Let your children see your rise and fall. Krawcheck felt it was particularly important for her children to see her work hard and succeed and work hard and fail.
“My career hasn’t been a straight line, by any means, and I never hid that from them. I remember them tiptoeing into my bedroom the morning after I was booted out of Citi, to check that I was ok,” Krawcheck said. “The underlying lesson has been how much work goes into work and how important resilience is, demonstrated over a lot of years.”