Is Creating a Work-Life Balance Impossible For Parents?
May 9, 2024
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Mothers’ Day is just around the corner, and whilst the platitudes of being superwoman and all that are nice, I’m feeling a little jaded. Those few hours of being pampered seem like the shortest of respites in a long parenting marathon. And it’s not just my children that are the source of this cynicism.

Balancing parenting responsibilities with work and other obligations can be challenging at best and downright impossible at worst. 

I can’t be the only one who gasps every time the electricity bill is opened, or the Reserve Bank talks about interest rates. Don’t get me started on the weekly shopping bill (when did a bag of potato chips become an actual luxury item?) For most of us, cost of living pressure translates into more work, less time and greater stress. Oh, and as parents, there’s the never-ending guilt to deal with as well. Do I sacrifice the opportunity at a promotion or new client over sitting with the kids for dinner? I know I can’t get to the dance recital because of a work meeting. There’s no time to make that nourishing school Bento box between washing, cleaning, and driving them everywhere. And on the weekends after sport, a full week of work, school and two kids’ parties … quality time with the family is spent in a semi-slumber state on the couch. How do we become more grounded, connected as a family and ultimately happy people in a world of fast pace and high pressure?

Turns out, I’m just doing it wrong.

What is work-life balance for parents?

The Australian Parenting Website defines this very clearly:

“When you have a good work-life balance, you’re more likely to have the mental and emotional energy to give your children the loving attention they need to develop, learn and thrive.”

The article goes on to suggest achieving this means looking at how the home and your family are organised:

  • What things do you need to do (caring for kids, going to work etc) and what do you want to do (exercise, socialise, relax etc)?
  • How much time do you spend on each of those wants and needs?
  • Where does your available money go, and is it always going to the best place for those needs (and wants)?
  • What can you feasibly change within this matrix of needs, wants, time and money to make your life more balanced?

I did this exercise, and found that, unfortunately, there is no golden goose laying eggs in my backyard: I’ll be in the workforce a while longer. But as a mother…? It became clear that I’ve equated being mum to doing everything. A lot of my ‘life’ time is taken up with chores which, essentially, could be done in a much shorter time frame if we all stepped up and did them. 

How to get your kids to help with work-life balance.


Getting the kids to help with age-appropriate chores around the house is not child labour, but great parenting. I’ve found that through delegating chores and working as a team, our household runs more smoothly, and we get to spend more time together as a family. I’m no longer resentful of working a full week and then playing maid and cleaner when I get home. As an added bonus, the kids have learnt new life skills, are more resilient and feel empowered. 

Am I speaking a little of your truth too? Here are six ways to take the bore out of chores and get your kids helping around the house:

1. Music

Search for  ‘Housework Hits’ on Spotify and endless playlists have compiled bangers from throughout the decades. If your kids aren’t into Bananarama or Hole, it might just motivate them to get things done quicker. 

2. Rewards

Once the chores are done, getting together to do something fun is a fantastic reward. Board games, a trip to the park, movie night, ice cream… whatever your family loves doing as a unit should be the immediate reward.

3. Choice

Wash or dry? Make the lunches or take out the rubbish? Rather than demanding, giving children the opportunity to choose a task will often get them doing it without the whingeing. 

4. Money

Make chores a real-world teaching moment by getting kids to ‘invoice’ you for their hard work. Spriggy Cards are fun, an easy way to transfer money and give children another way of seeing (beyond a clean room!) what their efforts can produce.

5. Creativity

Who can make the best lunchbox for their siblings? How many patterns can you make on home made pizza? Give them some free reign as they make lunch or dinner.

6. Planning

 At the start of each week, ask the kids to help you devise a meal plan. This gives them some ownership over their lunchboxes and meals, takes the mental load off you and helps write a shopping list that won’t break the budget. This also alleviates that time and money wasting exercise of ‘just got to get a few things’ from the shops every second day.

7. Blitz it

Many hands make light work, and when the tasks are known and the timer set, it’s incredible how much housework you can get through together. Write down the list of chores, leave it on the bench with a pen and see how fast your kids can work their way through the list.

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Everyone deserves to have balance in their life, and it isn’t impossible. Taking some precious time to see where small changes can be made can make a huge difference to our parental wellbeing.

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From the entire MyFirstGym team we’d like to wish a beautiful and Happy Mother’s Day to all the fantastic, hardworking mums out there. 

For more School Holiday tips and ideas visit our Ultimate Budget Friendly Holiday Guide