Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers
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Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers

Individual Wellbeing and Career Experiences

Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Kathryn M. Page and Cary Cooper

Happiness in one aspect of our life can positively impact upon our satisfaction within other domains of our life. The opposite also rings true. Today’s generation of working people have often been called the generation who want it all. But can we really have it all? And at what cost to our and others’ happiness? Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers explores ways in which contemporary working people can thrive in a complex, volatile and uncertain world. Combining both research and practice, the contributors of this book cover all bases from individual wellbeing, family, work and career experiences, to leadership. They conclude by providing the reader with tools to combine what they have learnt and apply it to their own lives.
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Chapter 6: Juggling family and career: parents’ pathways to a balanced and happy life

S. Katherine Nelson and Sonja Lyubomirsky


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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