Balancing Work and Family During the Kids' Summer Vacation

DATE: Aug 11, 2017 
AUTHOR: Jessica Raymond-Allbritten, CRDH, BASDH

According to the United States Department of Labor, 57 percent of women participate in the workforce and 70 percent of women in the workforce have children younger than 18. Full-time dental hygienists may feel guilty or stressed about balancing work and family, especially during the summer vacation. The key to achieving the right balance between your career and parenthood is to come up with a system to make time for family, but also yourself.

If you're struggling to achieve balance, check out these tips to get you on the right track.

Find Time for Yourself

Balancing work and family may be difficult, but it is not impossible if you have a schedule. During the school year, there is a very set household routine: wake up, catch the bus, return home, eat dinner, do homework, go to bed. The first step toward achieving a solid work-life balance during the summer vacation is to establish a similar routine. It does not have to be as rigid, but every day, set aside family time (like mealtimes) and alone time.

Sometimes you have to tell yourself to drop the mop in order to sneak a moment to yourself. Try this tip from Family Share the next time you need a break: Set a timer for 30 minutes and tell the kids that mommy has something very important to do and until the timer goes off that it is quiet time. To keep the kids busy, put on a movie, give them a game or puzzle, or set up the sprinkler in the yard. Then, use these 30 minutes however you please: read a book, indulge in a bath, take a cat nap. When the 30 minutes are up, then they can have mommy time. When you return, you will be recharged and able to keep up with your little ones while they zoom around the house.

Find Time for Your Kids

Some dental offices are slow in the summertime. Asking your boss for a shortened workday if the schedule allows will help you find more time to spend with your kids. When you do have an afternoon off, plan an activity that everyone will enjoy. For example, take a day trip to the aquarium. Everyone gets to enjoy a respite from the heat in the calm, cool, dark space. Bring your camera along if you're a shutterbug, and of course, the kids will have a blast "oohing" and "aahing" at the fascinating fish.

Planning a yearly summer vacation is something to look forward to and can give you and your family much-needed time together away from your normal day-to-day routine. Ask for days off well ahead of time and post a countdown calendar to get everyone excited. This way, if you are very busy with work in the few weeks leading up to your vacation, you can rest assured and let your kids know that quality time together is just around the corner.

When you are at work, plan activities your kids love and that will keep them occupied: play dates, drama camp, sports camp or field trips to the zoo organized by a babysitter. When your children are busy and having fun, you may feel less guilty about leaving them at home when they should be enjoying their summer.

Balancing Work and Family

Dental hygienists often do not need to bring work home with them, which is one of the perks of the profession; however, you may have to do research or continuing education on your own time. If this is the case, take a breather from dental hygiene for an hour or two when you get home. Jumping from one professional obligation right to the next may burn you out.

When you arrive at the office, you leave your personal life at the door so that you can fully focus on your patients. Make an effort to do the reverse as well: when you return home at the end of a long day, leave work at the door.

Takeaways

  • Set aside time for yourself so you can recharge.
  • Plan day trips that the whole family will enjoy.
  • Do your best to separate work life and home life, so that you can give your patients and your family your undivided attention.

Why It's Valuable

Busy dental hygienists may find it difficult to balance work and family during summer vacation. It is key to find time for yourself and for your kids so that you get to celebrate summer with fun activities and give your personal and professional lives the attention they deserve.