October: National Work and Family Month

By Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A., Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University

With October being National Work and Family Month, it is a good time to address a common issue most families face; the struggle of balancing work and family. On average, people in the United States work 47 hours per week, which is more than any other country worldwide. With so much time devoted to work, many people find it difficult to have enough time for both work responsibilities and family time. So how can you, as a grandparent raising your grandchild, find a way to make sure you're putting in enough time at work, while still having enough quality time for your family? Researchers have developed several strategies to help families achieve a successful work and family balance. Try incorporating some of these strategies into your life if you find yourself struggling with balancing time between work and family:

  • Maintain a commitment to family: Be sure to make your family your number one priority. One simple way to do this is by creating opportunities to spend with your family. Try having a weekly pizza night with you and your grandchild where you can sit down and have time to talk.
  • Strive for equality in your partnership: If you have a partner, show each other respect and try to divide up household responsibilities equally. This way, each of you will have more time together and with your grandchild.
  • Derive meaning from work: People who enjoy their work and find purpose in their work have less fatigue and work related stress.
  • Maintain a work balance: You can make the decision to have control over your work, so try not to let your work dictate your life. For example, you might want to say no to jobs that require long hours or weekend work if you know it will take away time from your family.
  • Be focused while you're at work: If you are dedicated and productive while at work, your employer will be more supportive of your efforts to limit your work hours to create enough time for your family.
  • Prioritize family fun: Make it a point to enjoy a lot of playtime with your family. This will help you relax and stay emotionally connected to your loved ones.
  • Live simply: Try to eliminate unnecessary expenses in your life that may require you to work overtime to cover bills.

For the month of October, try incorporating some or all of these strategies in your everyday life. You may find that these strategies help you achieve a balanced work and family life.

Information for this article was provided by:
Haddock, S. A., Zimmerman, T. S., Ziemba, S. J., & Current, L. R. (2001). Ten adaptive strategies for family and work balance: Advice from successful families. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27, 445-458. doi: 10.111/j.1752-0606.2001.tb00339.x