“A Guide for Stressed Out Parents” from U.S. News & World Report

Kimberly Palmer, author of Generation Earn, is senior editor for U.S. News & World Report where she writes the Alpha Consumer blog.  She recently asked me to share some tips about how to manage work+life fit with her readers.  The following is an excerpt from her post.

Before becoming a working parent myself, I didn’t really grasp the challenge of combining a career with family life. After all, don’t you just send your happy child off to school during the day while you pursue your professional life, and then gather around the dinner table for quality time at night? Of course, I quickly realized how challenging it really was, as soon as my daughter came down with a series of viruses her first winter and I felt like I was constantly leaving work early or staying home to be with her, not to mention worrying about her when I managed to make it to the office.

Now, when I read about working parent issues, I’m looking for real solutions. How do you share responsibilities with your partner? How can you be productive even when making sure to put your child’s needs first? Is it even possible to feel like you’re excelling in both areas of your life? Cali Williams Yost, chief executive of the Flex+Strategy Group, a flexibility strategy consulting firm, and author of Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You, helps people answer those questions for themselves. Excerpts from our recent conversation:

Before you wrote your book, what did you feel was missing from work-life discussions?

The individual was missing. Since 1995, I’d been developing and implementing work-life flexibility strategies for companies. Most, if not all, of the emphasis was on the company and manager. What did they need to do differently to help their employees manage their work and life?

Around 1998, it became clear to me that, honestly, an employer can only do so much. They must create a culture that supports the work-life conversation, but, at the end of the day, the solution rests with each of us. Only you know what’s going to work for your unique job and personal realities. And, everyone is so different. One size does not fit all. My book was the first step-by-step guide to creating a plan that fits.

You write that the most successful work life plans are employee-initiated, but how can employees best propose a plan?

First, make sure you have the right mindset for success. For example, know that for any kind of flexibility to work, you are responsible for keeping the lines of communication open with your manager, your clients, and your team. Don’t expect them to come to you. Also, be flexible, by willingly shifting your new schedule periodically to “go the extra mile” as needed.

Second, know how to identify and avoid the common roadblocks that will unnecessarily derail you if you’re not careful. For example…(Click here for more work+life fit tips)