In Summary
  • For many working family women, the work life balance is a dream that they have long given up chasing.
  • Dorcus Murungi explores the possibility of striking a balance.

Do you get in from work every night long after the children have gone to sleep? Sometimes it can feel like the combination of our professional, personal and social lives is about to drive us crazy but there is hope. You can wiggle your way around the work life balance.
According to Connie Musisi Head of Careers at Uganda Christian University, although concentrating on career broadens your chances of getting work promotions, family is also important.
Margaret Tumusiime a teacher at Merryland High School and a counsellor says it is not meaningful to succeed in your career and have your children get involved in acts of immorality which you might have avoided if you had spared some time to counsel them.

“Some working class parents leave the role of parenting to housemaids; they leave home by 5am and return when the children are dead asleep on a daily basis. This denies the children a chance to have their parent as their role model,” she says.
Tumusiime says people with families need to find a way of chipping in at their homes so as to offer guidance where necessary.

Below are some ways to balance career and family;
Be honest with your employer
Musisi says some workers lie to their employers at the time of being hired. Some lie about their marital status, a thing which catches up with them eventually.

“There are some jobs which can only be handled by the singles but because some people are so desperate and they need a job, they lie. These are the workers who are always at work even when their children are sick because they cannot reverse what they said as they were entering the company,” she observes.
She advises workers to be honest noting that this will help them not to be assigned extra duties that they cannot handle since they have families to take care of as well.

Be proactive about personal planning
“I always mark my calendar such that I am reminded about all the special events at home. My family is happy because I spare time to be with them during special days. You can block out the time you need to make those commitments happen; whether it is your son’s school games, a performance, or your spouse’s birthday weekend. Then plan work obligations around those personal commitments, so that what is truly important remains a priority,” says Rhitah Kirungi, a lawyer.

Make use of day offs
Tumusiime says a number of companies give day-offs to their employees. This she says, is done to compensate them for extra hours worked.
“You can use your day offs to be with your family, prepare a nice meal for your children, take time to play with them and ask them about challenges they are facing at school. This will draw them closer to you and it will make them feel that you care about them,” she advises.

Draw a time table
Musisi says if you are a working class parent, you need to have a timetable that will help you do specific things at a particular time.
“Make a timetable to include all your responsibilities at work as well as those at home. This will guide you on how to effectively use your time, if it is time for work, it will strictly be time for work and not spending hours on social media perusing through everybody’s post. When your work is finished, then switch and attend to your family,” she says.

Draw a line between work and family
Kirungi says workers should also learn to draw a line between work and family.
She advises workers to avoid mixing family issues and work.

“Each time I go home, I leave issues of office to where they belong. I do not take my work frustrations home.”