Having a career and raising a family are two different ball games many parents play. For fathers in the medical field, balancing work and family life is often more challenging. Healthcare is demanding, and professionals in this career can’t always choose their schedules.
If you’re both a healthcare professional and a father, how can you remain competitive in your career without compromising time with your family? Below are five ways to help you achieve work-life balance.
- Choose a Flexible Career
There’s no easy career path in healthcare. However, there are some roles that may let you choose your preferred work hours. If you’re about to start a new role in a medical career, pick a job that will give you more freedom, like a physician assistant or occupational therapist.
Don’t worry about your family’s finances. A flexible job doesn’t always mean less pay. You can still earn a decent amount in one of these roles. According to International Medical Aid, a physician assistant’s salary may range from USD$87,980 to USD$125,200 per year, depending on the specialty.
However, remember that it’s also important that your chosen career is one you genuinely like. Sticking to a path you’re half-hearted about may leave you stressed and tired by the time you’re home with your family. So, aim to land a flexible and high-paying healthcare job that you’ll also find enjoyable and fulfilling.
- Plan With Your Partner
If you’re just about to become a dad, take the time to plan how you’ll adjust your routine and lifestyle. Taking care of a newborn is more demanding for both parents, especially when you don’t have other people to help you. But while it’s a truly challenging phase that will test your patience, planning with your partner how you’ll work around sharing all household responsibilities will make the day-to-day tasks so much easier.
Helping each other get proper rest during downtimes is also beneficial. If you have young children at home, scheduling turns to look after them and when to take breaks is helpful to avoid burnout for both parents. If possible, enlist the help of any available family member you can trust to help look after the kids.
Planning early and having something to fall back on will help you manage your time better. Many parents only make changes at the last minute, which could cause panic and problems in their work-life balance.
- Take Advantage of Your Paid Leave
Review and confirm your paid and unpaid leaves at your workplace and when and how often you can use them. Your paid time off is a great opportunity for a break to spend more quality time with your family. You can perhaps be more involved in your child’s education, plan a holiday with them, or attend special family events.
Working as much as possible might be tempting, especially if you’re the family’s breadwinner. But your leaves are there for a reason. With a demanding and stressful job in healthcare, you need to take breaks and recharge while bonding with your loved ones.
- Go Tech-Free When on a Break
A common issue among career-driven dads is that they often continue working at home beyond work hours. Avoid this as much as possible. Don’t be tempted to look through your emails when you’re not on duty. Those tasks and messages can wait. Focus on your family when you’re with them and avoid distractions.
Setting boundaries between work and family life is one of the first things every working person needs to learn. While some can handle both without issues, it’s not advisable for many reasons. First, it prolongs work stress, and second, your family may feel like you’re physically present but mentally absent. As a dad, the last thing you want is for your family to think they’re not important to you.
One way to prioritize your family is to have hours in the day that are tech-free for everyone. You, your partner, and your kids can do fun activities that don’t involve your phones, like playing sports outside. Limiting screen time can also benefit everyone, as too much of it can affect one’s mental and physical health.
- Set Reminders for Important Events
When you say you’ll make time for your kids every week, you must make it happen. No one likes someone who makes promises and doesn’t see them through. Your children might forgive you when you miss their big game. But they probably won’t forget that day and how it made them feel.
Set reminders for yourself whenever you need to attend your child’s school event or accompany them to the dentist. You can do this by setting alerts on your phone’s calendar or posting notes where you can easily see them. This will help you become more mindful to finish your work tasks early so you can prepare for family time.
Care for Others and Your Family
Your healthcare career shouldn’t be a reason not to spend time with your family. Medical professionals need breaks too. As much as your patients require your care, your family needs you to be present at home. Your patients at work will have other staff to look after them when you’re not there, but your role as a father at home cannot be replaced by anyone.