Ingrid Kellaghan, founder of Cambridge Nanny Group, discusses balancing parenthood and work, particularly during life’s busy seasons.
So many parents are living in burnout mode. They’re exhausted critters, just like the gerbil on the wheel, running from place to place, from priority to priority, and by the time they land at home they’re little reserve left to give families.
As the universe would have it, the start of the school year often coincides with work peaks across most industry sectors, including my work running Cambridge Nanny Group. Longer hours are required. Overnight travel becomes a necessity. I’ve learned to put boundaries in place so when I walk the tight rope between work and family, I don’t lose my balance. Most importantly, it provides me a reserve of emotional and physical resources so I give my family what it needs during the times my career demands more of my attention.
First, I make quitting time an absolute starting time. You wouldn’t show up for work an hour or two late every day; don’t show up for home “late” either.
Second, I leave my work at work. If I must take my work home I resolve to do it only after the last child is in bed and my husband is occupied with something else. I’ve had at least eight or nine hours at the office already; my family deserves my full attention at least half that time.
Third, there are times when I have to be on the road but there are ways to stay connected to my kid’s hearts:
- Call after school to see how their day went. (And no, texting won’t do. Children need to hear your voice. Even if your children or very young and can’t speak yet make that daily voice connection.
- Leave special notes, one for each day you’ll be gone.
- Keep bedtime routine intact, saying prayers or singing cherished songs together by phone.
- Record a reading of a favorite book so your child can listen to you “read on tope” before bedtime or during story time.
- Before you leave, agree on a special “reunion” activity…and stick to it like glue, no matter what work is waiting back in the office.
None of these are the same as being there in person, of course, but they show your love- and make the reunion at home that much sweeter.
Founder Cambridge Nanny Group