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Tips for Working Parents: Coping on the Job

Another hurdle for parents may be work. Your job can be a source of satisfaction and support, but it can also cause stress if you isolate yourself. Work together by talking with your employer, learning company policies, getting feedback, and setting up a support network.

Woman showing man pictures of children.

Talk With Your Employer

Let your employer know that you like your job but you are also a parent with a family to consider. Talk openly with your supervisor. Work together to solve any conflicts between your work and your family.

Learn Company Policies

Find out about all company policies related to sick days and personal days. Can you use them when your child is sick? Ask if you can make up any lost time by taking work home, coming in early, or staying late. Is job sharing or ‘‘flextime’’ feasible?

Get Feedback

You may feel you are doing poorly (or well) on the job, when this isn’t the case at all. Unless you get feedback, you’ll never know for sure. Set aside time with your supervisor to discuss your performance and whether you’re living up to expectations.

Set Up a Network

Your workplace can be a tremendous source of emotional and practical support. Take advantage of breaks, lunch hours, or other free time to talk to other working parents and learn from each other. It’s fun and helpful to share feelings, experiences, and ideas.

Sick Child

Before your child gets sick, line up alternatives for sick-child care such as your partner, a relative, or friend. You can help avoid some sick-child calls by knowing your child care provider’s policy ahead of time.

‘‘We Forgot’’ Calls

So, your child forgot his homework, lunch, or permission slip-again? Make it routine to prepare the night before; then double-check in the morning. As they get older, children can begin to assume more responsibility and prepare their own checklists.

‘‘Latchkey’’ Kids

If you have your child check in with you when he gets home from school, keep the call brief. Minimize unnecessary conversation by making up a fresh list of things for your child to do each day. Figure out beforehand what you’ll do if your child doesn’t call on time.

Child Care Calls

If your child care provider or school calls you, find out what the problem is and whether you can deal with it later. Explain your work situation to your child care provider and set limits as to what you consider an emergency.

 

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