Individual Wellbeing and Career Experiences
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Kathryn M. Page and Cary Cooper
Chapter 6: Juggling family and career: parents’ pathways to a balanced and happy life
Welcoming a child into the family is often met with new challenges to balance the demands of the parents’ careers with the needs of their families. Parents may be confronted with seemingly endless tasks associated with caring for a child – arranging childcare, preparing meals, and sleepless nights in the early years. Without any adjustments to demanding work schedules – early meetings, project deadlines, and concerns about maintaining productivity – parents may feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of unavoidable daily tasks. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of workers report difficulties balancing the responsibilities of work and family (Parker and Wang, 2013), and parents frequently experience fatigue associated with being ‘on call’ 24/7 (Feldman and Nash, 1984). Despite these stresses, however, we suggest that both work and family provide unique benefits, and, that when parents can maximize the benefits and minimize the stresses, they will achieve work–life balance and wellbeing. Drawing from research on work–life interaction (e.g., Eby et al., 2010, for a review), parenthood (e.g., Nelson et al., 2014a), and ways to improve wellbeing (e.g., Lyubomirsky and Layous, 2013), we suggest multiple strategies for parents to juggle family and career and lead full, balanced, and happy lives.
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