Family life

It’s back-to-school time!

Vacation time is just about over and with September and back-to-school time, the routine is back in our daily family-work activities. Are you ready? Do you need tips?

It is 7:25 a.m., David just left for work, Manon is looking for her daughter’s second sock. She must be at the daycare by 7:45. Manon is in charge of a meeting scheduled at 8:30 at work. Of course, like every time she is hurried, Josephine throws a tantrum: she doesn’t like the sweater mommy gave her. She wants the pink one. “No, you can’t wear pink with orange trousers!”, says Manon. Josephine rolls on the floor as if to say “You certainly can’t stop me from doing so!” Manon leaves her there and tries to dress Paul who, as usual, kicks her to protest. What a noisy duo! Time flies, Manon is running late. There is no more bread and she is looking for another lunch idea. Isn’t back-to-school great?

Experiencing stress?

Back-to-school often means back to stress and running. It is a paradox… we keep screaming, “Help! I need more time, I’m always running!” But you’ll be surprised to know that the parents of the years 2000 spend more time with their children than parents did in the Eighties. Yes, that means even when they are working. I could not believe this information when I saw it first… I checked with my mother who was with us when we were young and she says that she is not surprised. Back then, children left for school and came back home to play in the street. . Nowadays, parents who don’t spend half an hour with their children to help with their homework or who leave their baby alone to play for too long feel guilty. The expectations of parents towards themselves are much greater and generate more stress and an impression of never having enough time.

But we work less than before

According to a Statistics Canada analysis of time use on16 000 Canadians in 2005, just over half of respondents feel stressed when they lack time. However, between 1986 and 1998, fathers reduced their working hours and nearly doubled the time devoted to household tasks. The time spent with their children keeps increasing. Another major statistic change is that leisure time has never been so important. It means that time truly is a matter of perception, it is elastic and some can optimize it more than others.

Learn to budget

I like comparing time with money. Some people who have a lot of money can find it harder to make ends meet than someone earning half as much. In addition to your budget, make a time budget! The back-to-school period is a great opportunity to reevaluate the time spent in all spheres of your life such as family, work and leisure. It reiterates the importance of each and will help you avoid the mad rush of September.

Other studies showed that the free time of women progresses but at the expense of domestic and non-working time. No more chores! As you can see, household chores are not my cup of tea. I make fun of household tasks but it is my husband who is taking care of it at home. I had to give up on perfection but at least I don’t have to take care of it anymore (or almost). Each one of you must make your own decisions based on your priorities and make time for what is important for you and your loved ones. If your household is one, start slowly or try other strategies, such as hiring a cleaning lady for example. Organization and determination are keys. Set goals! This September, take new resolutions and allow yourself to enjoy this moment!

Claudie Arsenault

Claudie Arsenault is a professional coach in balancing work and family, author of Conciliation travail-famille : Y trouver son compte et son bonheur and founder of Coopérative du Cercle des supermamans. Coaching is there to help people achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Claudie was trained  by the school Coaching de gestion (management coaching) and is accredited by the International Coach Federation. Her unique niche is what sets her apart. She helps parents manage their return to work, improve their work-life balance, rethink their career path after the arrival of children, develop or start their business while maintaining a balance. Being a mother of three, she knows a thing or two about work-life balance! Helping parents find a balance between their professional and personal lives is a real passion for her. To find out more, visit her website (in French only).

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