Being a parent, as people say, is the toughest role in the world, and one that doesn’t have a nine-to-five schedule or lunch breaks. It’s a lifetime responsibility that brings joy to those who dare assume it, and it inevitably leads to all kinds of challenges. One of them is continuously working hard to establish some semblance of work-life balance. With a new career comes new responsibilities, so choosing can be difficult for those who are parents and build a new career at the same time.
There’s the added pressure of being a role model based on what you choose since your little rascals will look up to you and talk to you about their own dreams and future aspirations. How you tackle your new career choice will be a vital step in preparing your kids for their own professional choices, too.
Let’s take a look at a few factors to consider when balancing your life as a parent, role model, and that of a professional. Selecting the right new career for you will help you accomplish all of those roles, albeit with setbacks along the way.
Consider strengths, not just passion
Although your passion and interests are vital components in choosing a meaningful career path for yourself, you also need to consider your skills. While many love singing, it’s safe to say that a career in entertainment requires a unique set of abilities beyond the musical ones, not to mention managing the growing competition.
Many people also love the idea of working in medicine, but the sight of blood or needles terrifies them. In addition, becoming a doctor or nurse can be a massive time commitment and many parents aren’t able to make this. Evaluate your core strengths to find work that will be fulfilling, but that will also fit your character and your personality.
Education is key in preparing for your career
Much like with all good things in life, you need to make investments in your professional development in order to qualify for the most rewarding and meaningful work available. Think, for instance, of the healthcare industry. It sets a high bar in terms of academic expectations, hence the need to obtain proper medical certification depending on the work you want to do.
Today, you can also find complimentary online courses to build upon your core medical education and become an even more qualified candidate. You can also choose work that ranges from nursing, elderly and palliative care, to working with ER patients – all of which heavily depends on your education and desire to keep learning. This is a valuable lesson for your kids, too, since they will slowly begin to understand just how essential schoolwork is for their future if they have such ambitions.
The monetary benefits of work
From early on, your kids should understand the value of money and fair compensation, so that they learn how to value their own work in the process, too. Not everything should be measured in comparison to the profit it brings, but your little ones should know: there are jobs with high salaries that will make them miserable, and there are poorly-paid jobs that will make them feel like they make a difference.
In time, however, the benefits of having financial stability without purpose or meaning, much like having a driving force without any financial gain – it will all take its toll. While you should encourage volunteering and pro bono work in their career as well as your own, you also need to teach your kids to build their financial independence and stability. Both can complement one another and be rewarding in their own way.
The emotional and mental ramifications
On one hand, not giving yourself the chance to grow as a professional can have its own emotional and personal consequences. On the other, giving all of your energy and zeal to work alone will have a whole new set of overwhelming ramifications in your life. It’s good to encourage your kids to be passionate about something, to dream of being astronauts, firefighters, or doctors. But it’s also good to give them a perspective of variety.
Encourage them, much like you should encourage yourself, to stay interested in other things in life. Developing yourself as a whole person means you’ll be able to be an even better, wholesome professional, too. By protecting your emotional wellbeing, you take care of your family and set a great example for your kids to choose what builds them, not tears them down.
So perhaps in time they might realize being an astronaut isn’t that perfect, but then their love for dinosaurs transforms into a career in palaeontology.
Finding balance in life
Meaning doesn’t hide in one aspect of work, such as money or putting your skills to good use. Meaning and purpose can be derived from everything that you do, so long as your work doesn’t completely stifle the rest of your identity. That means that your role as a parent, but also that of an individual with other independent interests and needs don’t get lost in the process.
Compromise is a healthy way to choose a new career that has an element of doing good, that lets you grow as a professional, but that doesn’t take away all the time you can possibly have for fitness, nutrition, sleep, and growing relationships.
Perhaps working from home is a great way to spend more time with your kids and eat home-cooked meals while doing something you love. Perhaps teaching online is that calling, giving you plenty of opportunity to also teach in person, and craft your own schedule based on your needs.
Let’s face it, once you become a parent, you make choices with your kids and your family in mind, not just your own interest or profit. However, there is always a way to combine a lucrative path with doing good and making a difference and finding a position that reflects your values and your needs as a human being. Taking all of that into consideration makes you a great parent and an even greater role model, so don’t fear trying your hand at something new professionally, when the time is right.
Have you changed your career since you’ve had kids? Tell us in the comments below.