by Belinda Bray
Director of Wellbeing

Parenting has been the most rewarding, challenging, frustrating and hilarious adventure I have ever been on. I don’t know anything that has stretched and grown me more.

My husband and I both work fulltime. This is something that I never really thought would happen. I was a stay at home mum while our children were small and picked up supply teaching and contracts from time to time that seemed to get us through. I loved being at home with my children. We spent lots of time in the garden, with friends, we made thousands of biscuits, we thrift store shopped for clothes and had so many lovely halcyon family moments.

In 2014 I accidentally became a full time art teacher and my family has been dancing the dance of two parents working full time since then.

Working full time has been incredibly rewarding. I have been able to learn so much from my amazing colleagues. I have opportunities to do so many things, like this podcast! I have also had the total privilege of teaching teenagers: amazing, crazy, weird, smart, sassy, tenacious, wonderful teenagers.

But – working full time has come at a cost. There are times when I do feel lonely, being at work and out of the ‘out for lunch’ circle. Teaching is a hard job, add the other element of ‘caring’ into that, and it can be exhausting. There are times when the weekend hits and I am just so exhausted from giving my all at work that I don’t socialise or look after myself as much as I probably should.

I know I am not alone in this. I hear it from others, I see it on social media, I read about it in the news. Working full time is hugely rewarding and hugely taxing on us as humans.

But, I have learnt so much in the last five years and I thought I would share with you some of those things with you today.

How to be a good parent when you work full time?

I sat down with Michael Bray, Principal of Highlands Christian College… Michael is also my husband and the father of my children!

We have hit a sweet spot with our family. Our children are 15, 12 and 9 and we have gotten to the point where our systems are working almost all the time and we get into a groove that helps things go smoothly. In thinking about our family, I think that there are 5 things that help us all do what we need to do. I will outline them, then maybe we can talk about each one.

  1. Routines: Lunches, job charts
  2. Be organised: lots of food in the house, laundry done at night
  3. Everyone pitches in to help: folding, meal preparation, cleaning
  4. “Make it Fun”
  5. Everyone can chase a dream: find ‘space’ to do things that bring us joy

Take-Out

  • Do you have good routines that help get you out the door in the mornings?
  • Do you use job charts?
  • Are there some things that you can tweak to make your everyday easier?

Challenge

I want to challenge you to take one idea we have talked about today and implement it THIS week. And, if you do, we would love to hear about it! My hope is that this inspires you to intentionally choose to be ‘More Than Okay’. I hope that you can find ways to make your household run more smoothly giving you more time to do fun things with your family.

Get Belinda’s FREE Family Job Chart Template

Belinda’s tip: we have a magnet for each of our kids and they move through the jobs doing one column per week!

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