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Hi working parents. How's your summer going?

School holidays are always fraught with conflict for me โ€“ and Iโ€™m not talking about the kids arguing (although that IS a prevalent theme in my house ๐Ÿ˜‰). Iโ€™m talking about the internal conflict of delivering good work while also delivering good parenting; of desperately wanting to enjoy the glimpses of sunshine while also getting your longer-than-normal โ€˜to doโ€™ list done.

I donโ€™t have a magic wand to solve these conflicts, but several years of single parenting have taught me some lessons that I want to share with you.

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป #๐Ÿญ: ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ด๐—ผ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—น๐˜. I used to be wracked with guilt when my kids were missing out because I was busy with work. But Iโ€™ve learned that the guilt that I used to beat myself up with wasnโ€™t fair. I carve out as much time as possible with my kids, but I also have to work to pay the bills. I now know that I shouldnโ€™t feel guilty about the things Iโ€™m doing that build a better future for my kids. Did you know that thereโ€™s evidence that kids who have two parents who work tend to have greater job and life satisfaction as young adults compared to kids who had a stay at home parent? That evidence alleviated a LOT of guilt for me.

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป #๐Ÿฎ: ๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜€. If work is stressful, talk to your kids about it โ€“ not in a way that stresses them out, but in a way that they learn about what you do and the challenges you face. Tell them what youโ€™re working on, how many meetings you have in the diary and what your role is in those meetings. This serves a dual purpose โ€“ your kids will understand why you need to focus on work sometimes, and theyโ€™ll also build respect for you because theyโ€™ll learn that youโ€™re actually a bit of a super-hero!

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป #๐Ÿฏ: ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜† โ€˜๐˜†๐—ฒ๐˜€โ€™. Kids love being silly, and they absolutely love being silly with you. 10 minutes of laughing with your kids will go a really long way. Get the board games out, blow up water balloons and immerse yourself in 10 minutes of fun with the kids in between calls. Those 10 minutes might be their favourite time of the whole holiday (and yours).

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป #๐Ÿฐ: ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚โ€™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—บ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ. Work was designed on the basis that there was one parent at home who dealt with all the domestic stuff. Working all day and then coming home and doing all the kid stuff was never the expectation of working people. And itโ€™s really bloody hard, exhausting and stressful. Youโ€™re going to drop some plates along the way, and thatโ€™s absolutely fine, because everything youโ€™re achieving is amazing!

Working parents โ€“ give yourselves (and each other) a massive pat on the back, and reward yourselves with some well-deserved fun this summer.

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