by Caitlin Giles
CHICAGO (CBS) — Work-life balance is often discussed, yet so rarely achieved. For many parents the juggle of kids, family and life can feel overwhelming. How can savvy moms and dads find ways to carve out a little fun for themselves?
October is National Work and Family Month. Traditionally, this is a time to assess and discuss the challenges around achieving work-life balance. However, this month is also a celebration of how millions of working families are literally making it work.
Recently Cultural Care Au Pair conducted a survey of 600 families to learn more about work-life balance and overall satisfaction in various areas of their lives.
Survey results revealed that parents feel strongly that exercise and socializing with adult peers play a significant role in achieving work life balance.
82.8% of respondents report that a healthy lifestyle is important in achieving work-life balance.
68.6% of respondents say time with their partner, spouse or friends is important in achieving work -life balance.
“Work-life balance means working hard when you are there and enjoying family, friends when you are home and taking time for yourself,” stated one mom.
“Having time for myself–to workout, spend time with friends, etc. in addition to quality time with my kids and spouse,” said another respondent.
The survey also revealed that reliable childcare options help parents take care of their own needs and that down time is important when it comes to finding balance.
“We are able to have a regular date each week,” shared one survey respondent.
“I am more balanced in both work and life,” said another mom about having consistent childcare. “It is easier to plan for schedule or last minute changes.”
“The topic of work-life balance is certainly an important one,” says Marcie Wolbeck, local development director for Cultural Care Au Pair. “Many busy working families have realized that there are resources available that can really help manage the needs of everyone in the family — including your own.”
For busy parents looking to add more ‘me time’ to their lives, here are a few suggestions for fun things to do in Chicago when the kids are with a trusted caregiver:
1. Sign up for Class Pass with your Partner. Class Pass gives you access to hundreds of fitness studios and classes. Sign up with a partner and have fun mixing up your boring old exercise routine by bopping around town and trying new fitness formats together.
2. Laugh together. Who couldn’t use more giggles in their lives? Few things are more spontaneous than improv comedy. If you are looking for an unexpected, adults-only night out, take in a show at the infamous Second City.
3. Cultivate those hobbies. When life gets busy, we tend to neglect our side hobbies and interests, whatever they may be. Take time to invest in yourself by engaging in a leisure activity that you enjoy. Grab a buddy (and a bottle of vino) and head to Bottle and Bottega to reignite your passion for painting. Or dig out the ol’ guitar and get yourself over to the Old Town School of Music for a refresher course. These are not selfish, indulgent things activities. Parents deserve time to take care of themselves.
If you find that work and family is taking a toll on you, know that you are not alone. Make adjustments to your schedule, ignore those dirty dishes in the sink, and remember this period of life, while really challenging, won’t last forever.