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Talk it out
The 4 Conversations Overwhelmed Working Parents Need to Have
Leah Thomas

It's normal for working parents to struggle with balancing work life and home life. Many moms start to feel as though they are slacking at work or slacking as a parent at some point in the career. And because this struggle is so common, it’s important to know how to address it when it occurs.

The best solution, according to New York Times bestselling author Joseph Grenny and journalist Brittney Maxfield, is communication.

“As with most of the challenges we face at work, having an open and honest conversation is one of the first steps toward finding a solution,” the pair wrote in Harvard Business Review.

There are four crucial conversations the pair suggests having to ensure you have solid work-life balance and to cut down on your "I'm slacking stress":

1. A Conversation with Yourself

The first crucial conversation is the one you must have with yourself. Grenny and Maxfield recommend clarifying “who you are and what you want before you can confidently negotiate your boundaries.”

In order to be open and honest with others, you must be open and honest with yourself. Set personal goals, create an ideal schedule, highlight the times where you must be at work and the times where you must be at home. Find the perfect balance for you before you establish it with others.

2. A Conversation with Your Boss and Colleagues

Pull your boss and colleagues aside and stress to them how much you truly care about your job and career. Then, show them how your family is directly related to your ultimate professional success.

Grenny and Maxfield recommend saying something along the lines of: “I want to manage large projects. I’m at my best when I’m getting important things done. I’m willing to sprint for short periods of time to ensure that everything works. But these sprints will have to be occasional. I also intend to be a consistent presence in my children’s lives.”

3. A Conversation with Your Partner or Spouse

Have an honest conversation with your partner or spouse about your mutual goals for your relationship, your children, and your family.

“If, for example, you both agree that it’s essential for at least one parent to be present at important events in your child’s life, then find ways to tag-team these commitments,” the duo wrote.

If your spouse is not open to asking for flexible work hours, be encouraging to him or her. Remind him or her that you are both working toward a common family goal.

4. A Conversation with Your Child(ren)

If your children are old enough to comprehend this conversation, include them in it. Talk to them about the struggle you are facing and the work-life balance you are working to achieve. This will also prepare them for the future when they may face this issue as well.

But, be careful not to play the victim.

“Blaming your organization for your lack of flexibility or stress at home doesn’t solve problems; it creates unfair and false resentments,” Grenny and Maxfield wrote. “The last thing you want to do is teach your children to despise the idea of work. Instead, model by example.”

Although having these conversations is difficult, they are necessary when combating being overwhelmed. You can expect these tough talks to pay off in the long run. 

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