LEXINGTON, Kent. - Wednesday is National Working Parents Day – a time to recognize and appreciate guardians who balance their work and home life.
It’s a task that has been especially challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the school year has started back up, many now have to juggle work while overseeing at-home learning.
Michelle Martel, a professor and the director of clinical training for the University of Kentucky’s psychology department, says it’s OK for parents to feel overwhelmed and admit they need help at times.
“If you have family or close friends in the area that could provide support, that’s a great place to start,” said Martel.
Beyond that, if you haven’t already, Martel suggests reaching out to your employer to see how your job can be adjusted to fit into a new work-life balance.
“Maybe it involves little different hours. Maybe it involves a little bit more flexibility,” she said. “I think presenting your boss with that idea, you know just, ‘Hey, I was thinking this might make things a little bit easier. Then I can get done what I need to get done, but also manage my kids and it might take the stress off everyone.’ I think most bosses really right now would welcome that.”
Martel also says self-care is not selfish and that it’s important for parents to take moments for themselves during this challenging time.
“Doing those things and not feeling bad about it, like ‘Oh, there’s a million things you could be doing right now,’ but maybe you just need to go take a hot bath or you need to just go out and take a walk or do something for you. Do those things,” she said.
In the end, Martel says with all the new expectations, working parents should remember to be kind to themselves.
“Things are not going to be perfect right now,” she said. “Sometimes just having a decent day with your kid is maybe the most important thing.”
Another tip is to see what professional mental health services are available through your employer or covered by your work's insurance.
This story was first published by Alex Valverde at WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.