Work Life Balance for Carers

Yes it is – or can be.

Although when people are carers, with responsibility for others work has to take second place at times.

With children or older family members to consider, even with pets and with your partner maybe, you have to stop and think about their needs as well as yours (which often get put on the back burner, if thought of and met at all…) – and work demands.

mum & daughter playingAnd not just creative work either  or home working, all work.  And it’ s difficult to keep that balance, manage the guilt on one side or the other and sometimes partners just don’t get it either.  Often one partner will work harder/longer so the other takes over most or all of the care;  and if you work from home  ‘being at home all day’ means you do little more than care.    If only it were that easy in itself but probably it’s not!

The pressure and (negative) stress  comes from being unable to meet the varying demands of children/people/pets/workloads and deadlines – add in you own practical needs of eating, sleeping and caring you need to nurture yourself to stay strong or be unable to support others and provide what you need to.

But this is not a consideration either for you or from others – including work.    There are some, granted, but many workplaces and managers either forget the needs of others or have absolutely no idea what’s involved if they have never had to ‘sacrifice’ or decide which one comes first at some point – home or work, family or meeting, caring or workload.

Family matters matter – they should come first and your manager and colleagues need to understand – perhaps as you do when you step in to help for an unforseen absence with poorly children collected from school.  But many people feel bad – sometimes from colleagues body language or comments, but maybe too from their own neglect of their needs.

This was something I struggled with often when I was employed and the girls were younger – my guilt at leaving early, having to make up time later in the week but at least I had flexi time which was great!

balance scales by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Times I missed meetings I wanted and needed to attend because they fell ill overnight, and the frustration of not being able to manage it and ‘do it all’.

The guilt perhaps the children felt as I tried to juggle, meet all needs and be the career woman I wanted to be.

If the man is the main bread-winner and always has been, even
before children came along, he only need to focus on work even more and getting there, back and what happens at home.    Mum on th e other hand or whoever is the main carer, has to manage their workload and the family needs – from shopping, cleaning and care to earning money or frustrations being alone or/and at home.

See also:

A good article about acceptance, going with the flow and creating routines!