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Juggling Work, Life, and Relationships: Navigating Parenthood

Updated: May 30, 2023

As a Mama to four little ones, I have been pondering this question more and more. I have so many conversations with other Mamas at the kindergarten and the school gate about the epic morning juggle that has occurred before getting there. Mornings are a frenzy of getting little ones dressed, breakfast, lunchboxes, chucking a load of washing on and getting some meat from the freezer for that night's dinner (if you have managed to do the food shopping, that is), checking your emails and having a quick scroll through socials to make sure you haven't missed something urgent. At the kindergarten gate, we talk about the constant loads of washing piling up and how we have left our houses like bomb sites as we drag our little ones out the door while they have a shoe, sock or jumper fuss.

The role of parents

There is this constant feeling of running as a parent isn't there, and not doing something to the level of satisfaction you once could. It's a juggle, and it is basically impossible to keep all the balls in the air.


As a parent, we have to juggle so many different roles:

- The working parent

- The loving partner (wife/husband)

- The activities coordinator

- The family chef

- The house cleaner

- The career of sick little ones

- The teacher

- The taxi driver

- The friend

- The relative


Becoming a parent is huge. There is the gigantic pressure of what it means to be a parent. The feeling that you need to provide every opportunity you possibly can for your child. And you want to do so in a stress-free, happy environment. But many of us have this constant feeling of being under pressure and not keeping up.


Juggling parenting and work

As Jimmy Rees recently joked, children get 12 -13 weeks of school/kindergarten holidays a year, yet we only get four as working parents. Average work days start from 9 am-5 pm or 8 am-6 pm, yet school hours are 9 am-3 pm? Is kindergarten only 15 hours a week? How, then, are we supposed to possibly juggle the impossible? In most families, both parents have to work to keep a house over a little one's head and of course, there is the desire to work and feel like you are contributing and succeeding at something other than being a parent. The dreams you have prior to having children are often about being successful and fulfilled at work and in life outside the home.


But our children also need all of us and are constantly getting sick and needing time off for school, childcare or kindergarten and needing patience when we feel under pressure all the time.

Workplaces are getting better at being more flexible, but there is still a long way to go, and the actual system is not aligned; there literally aren't enough hours in the day. Childcare is expensive and there is also the added guilt of being away from your little ones when they are in care.


Maintaining a healthy relationship

Then, throw trying to find time for our partner amongst the passing of the baton between work, ferrying our little ones around to their various after-school and weekend activities and kids' parties, almost always in a sleep fog, from someone having a night terror, wetting the bed or a little person coming in during the night to hog your pillow. It is hard to find the time after a busy day; making doing dinner, showers and baths, reading with the children, the bedtime battle and some last-minute emails to find the time to connect - without you both collapsing on the couch in a heap.


As a partner, try and keep the small things going - like a peck on the lips on the way out the door or catch their eye between making the kids breakfast and saying, "I appreciate you, the juggle is epic, let's try and get a babysitter this week or cuddle on the couch tonight". Be kind to yourself, what activity could you miss this week? Can everyone just have a sandwich for dinner tonight?


So how can we have it all? Well, I don't think we can. I think we have to think of it more like a set of scales that ebbs and flows and try as best as we can to set our priorities but know that sometimes the scales will tip in one of these directions.


Parental support

I have learnt that as parents and a Mama, we need to call in help and set up our village. Can you tag team with a friend for some of the children's activities? Can you call in a grandparent? Can you go down a day at work to get on top of some of the running of the house chores? Can you hire some help a few times a week to fold, washing or clean the house? I know a lot of these ideas have costs associated with them which require you to work more to pay for them, but sometimes it is worth it to not feel like you are constantly trying to get on top of life.


Things won't always be like this, parents, one day your little ones will leave home and no longer need you. Please remember, when you feel like it's all too much, talk to a friend, have a cry to release the stress hormones, go for a walk and get a coffee and acknowledge the epic juggle you are undertaking and know you are not alone, we are all trying to navigate this juggle and give yourself grace that no one can have it all and that you are doing your best.


Parents, you have got this.


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Mother Juggling work, relationships and children. Learning to navigating Parenthood

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