Dear Doris – I feel totally conflicted

Dear Doris, 

As a working parent I feel totally conflicted. I constantly feel that I am not giving my all at work or at home. Every day feels like a compromise and that I am just getting by. How can I share this burden with my partner so that we can both have fulfilling careers and share the domestic chores? 

I hear you loud and clear. Being a working parent is tough. I think perhaps because there is so much expectation nowadays on the role of a parent. You need to be present at school events, on hand to offer emotional support and moral guidance, and quite frankly an expert in all school subjects!  

With regards to work/life balance I think it is essential to have proper childcare when you are working. You quite simply cannot give your career 100% attention when you aExpat Academy Dear Doris - I feel totally conflicted  re constantly distracted by children. Be strict on your working hours but when you are working focus 100% on the job.   

With regards to domesticity – I have found that going on strike occasionally can help. It causes chaos in the short term but also helps you justify your business case for employing domestic help. During my life I have had a short spell of being a single working parent which was extremely challenging. The best thing I did was hire a lovely nanny who also picked me up from the station and cooked my tea! I did have an issue with my children smelling of her perfume though…I had to wash them again when she went home! Of course, I understand that nannies are expensive so only an option for some. I also encouraged many after school playdates for my children so I could at least catch up on my domestic chores whilst they learnt how to socialise, share, play and collaborate with others. It worked! They are decent human beings now they are adults and can chat to anyone! Seriously, you will be helping them develop if you accept that you don’t need to entertain them all the time.  

Lastly don’t forget that life is short, find time to have fun and try not to accept “just getting by”. If you are lucky to have two parents bringing up your family, share the joy and the burden. Divide and conquer. You don’t always have to be the person at the parents evenings or the one to take your child to the doctor. Trust each other, look after each other’s happiness and careers and teach your kids to use the washing machine and cook as soon as you can! 

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