Juggling Caregiving and a Career: Tips from Employed Parents 

If you’re passionate about your career — and about being a great parent — welcome to the juggle… er, jungle? Only kidding.  

Caregiving can be challenging, exhausting, and incredibly rewarding, all at once. If you’re feeling the weight of responsibilities both at home and in your career, you’re not alone. Our online community recently shared some of their biggest challenges as employed parents — their top response? Finding work/life balance.  

While there is no one-size-fits-all parenting plan, it can help to hear what’s worked for others. So, we asked 10 parents from Creative Circle to share their advice for juggling employment and parenting. Here’s what they had to say:  

Meeting Caregiving Responsibilities and Spending Time with Loved Ones 

Prioritize Your Tasks

To-do lists can feel overwhelming, but it can help to prioritize. Some tasks are urgent, while others can wait. Be intentional about what truly matters to you. Does the laundry need to be folded RIGHT NOW? Do you really need to answer that email on a Saturday? Probably not. But if it gives you mental peace, then absolutely yes.  

Lauren Ferrara, senior vice president and mother of two, says she prioritizes her tasks and time ruthlessly and sets clear boundaries between work and home. “I focus on quality over quantity with my children. When I’m with them, I aim to be fully present,” Lauren says.  

Lyla Weiss, recruitment manager and mother of two, finds quality time in the little moments. She says the best part of her day is when she picks her girls up from school. “From pickup to bedtime, we get the next several hours together,” says Lyla. She goes “full mom mode” during this time, putting the employment part of her brain to rest as much as possible. Lyla recognizes that things come up and sometimes schedules need to shift; she advises that parents embrace flexibility and be adaptable as family needs change. And she reminds us, “Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan.”  

Leverage Workplace Flexibility

While it’s not for everyone — or available to everyone — working from home can be instrumental in supporting parents and caregivers. Eliminating your daily commute gives you precious time back to accomplish other things, be it playing with your kids, tackling a home project, or making space for self-care. If you have the type of job that can be done from home, even if it’s just some of the time, consider taking advantage of this flexibility.  

Brian Pope, lead recruiter and father of two, says in the 14 years of his career, the shift to a remote workplace has been the most impactful in achieving a more balanced work and home life. “And all the caregivers I’ve spoken to feel the same,” Brian says. “Hopefully remote work will be here to stay.”  

Put Down the Device

In our increasingly connected world, it’s essential to recognize the impact of technology on our relationships. Have you looked at the screen time report on your phone recently? According to Data Reportal, the average screen time spent by users aged 16 to 64 across different devices is 6 hours 37 minutes per day. Consider putting down the device and being present — for you, and for your family. 

Jason Lindberg, managing director and father of four says, “Work responsibilities aside (I have a job to do), I force myself to put down the device and be in the game. I only have so many nights to be present before the kids are grown. Spending time is as simple as talking to my family without the phone, iPad, or TV being on.”  

Performing Well at Your Job and Reaching Career Goals 

Communicate and Set Boundaries

Clear communication helps set realistic expectations. By communicating openly, working parents can express their needs, challenges, and limitations. And this applies both at home and in the office — communicate with your manager, with your partner, with your children, with your caretaker. 

Brian Lamsback, regional director and father of two, says he’s blessed to have a great parenting teammate at home. They communicate about schedules, career needs, and goals often. Brain says, “Ask your spouse, friend, or a family member to help you juggle things at home so you can prioritize your work when you need to.”  

Lauren Schneider, lead account executive and proud mother of her baby girl, says, “You can absolutely be an ambitious career person and an amazing parent.” She confirms that communicating with her manager has been pivotal in her success with this. 

Kurt Brown, senior vice president and father of three, says his boundaries with his family are crystal clear especially because he works from home. “If Dad’s office door is shut, you cannot come in,he says. Set physical barriers so you can focus on work, and stick to them.  

Have a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset can significantly benefit working parents by encouraging them to view time constraint challenges as opportunities. You don’t have to log 50+ hours per week in the office to succeed — learn to thrive in your allotted work time and approach your tasks with optimism. And while it won’t be easy at first, over time you will establish routines and practices that help you juggle home and work.  

Chris Coates, chief financial officer and father of three, says it’s all about effort and attitude for him. He says, “There’s always going to be folks that are ‘smarter’ than me, or may have other perceived advantages, but they might not have what I’ve got — determination. And I’m always in full control of that.”  

Self-Care: Being Kind to Yourself  

Use PTO and Sick Time

If you receive paid time off or sick time at your company, remember that it’s part of your total compensation and should be used when you need it. PTO isn’t just for vacations. Take the day to tend to your needs, whatever they might be. And if you’re sick — physically ill or mentally drained — take the sick day to heal and keep your life in balance.  

Regional director Brian Lamsback says his team has taken an intentional approach to destigmatizing mental health days. He says, “We’ve agreed ahead of time, as a group, that we don’t have to say we’re sick when we’re not. Telling our managers that we ‘need to take a sick day’ is sufficient.” He says this approach helps his team check in with themselves more often, and hopefully helps avoid potential burnout.  

Nurture Your Well-Being

There’s a reason the airlines tell parents to put their oxygen mask on first: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Prioritizing self-care is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Sure, it might not look the same as it did before children, but it can, and should, be on your list of priorities — right up there with “feed the kids breakfast.”  

Katie Welker, manager and proud mother of her baby boy, says she’s recently made a list of “non-negotiables” to help recharge after a busy work week. “I go to a Pilates class, walk my dog, and plan meals for the week ahead.” Katie emphasizes how important this is for her. “I look forward to this time and my family knows I need to do this to avoid getting overwhelmed.”  

Emily Webber, senior vice president and mother of two, can’t say enough about the importance of prioritizing self-care. “Taking care of my body through nutrition and exercise has made a difference in my overall attitude, patience level, and happiness.” She says it doesn’t take much time — she dedicates 30 minutes to one hour each day. “The time I commit to myself is just an important as any care I give directly to my children. Plus, I know I am setting a healthy example for my daughters,” she says. When parents take care of themselves, it benefits everyone in the family.  

Lead account executive Lauren Schneider reminds us to lean on our village. “Don’t just lean on your village when you need to take care of things at work — lean on them when you need to take care of yourself, too.” Lauren adds, “There’s a strength in accepting support and a beauty in watching your loved ones experience your family along with you.”  

Managing director Jason Lindberg shares an important reminder: “Flush the Instagram influencers’ sparkling homes and perfection! It’s not real. Raising a family can be messy, and sometimes frustrating. Real life isn’t social posts. It’s dishes in the sink, laundry for days, and basic house projects you should have finished a year ago. The mess and frustrations will soon be gone. You only have so long with kids before you’ll be longing for the chaos  again.”  

Creative Circle’s Support for Working Parents and Caregivers 

At Creative Circle, we’re committed to providing support to our employees through family-building resources, parental benefits and leave, and work-from-home-flexibility. We have an employee resource group dedicated to parents, caregivers, and allies; their mission is to empower and nurture our parent and caregiver community and to support healthy and productive lives — inclusive of work relationships. 

 

About the Author. 
Kayleigh is a Creative Circle freelancer — when she’s not chasing around her two young boys or biking on the canal with her husband, she spends her time creating content for us! She specializes in sharing advice for our talent community, so if you’re a creative with an appetite for blogs on market trends, job search guidance, and freelance life, subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you never miss the latest.