The Working Parents’ STRUGGLE!

5 Tips to help working parents spend more time with their kids.

 So Elias asked:

“How to deal with the so many working hours per day while still maintaining a good father figure for the children at home. As an electric engineer sometimes I’m required to stay even more than 9 hours and most of the times it’s not comfortable for me, even now as a single. Thanks!

Balancing work and family has to be one of the hardest things that parents have to do. My husband and I started our family at a very young age… 18!! So it was definitely a challenge since we always had to balance work, school and the hectic life of being a new parent. We tried our best to schedule our work and college classes so that at least one of us could spend some time at home with our kids to reduce the hours they had to be in daycare.  

This meant my husband took classes and worked when I was at home and vice versa as much as possible. We couldn’t always pull this off so our son also spent time in day care centers and with family members. It was tough!!!

This has to be one of the biggest parental challenges. We as parents often feel guilty when we leave our kids in daycare, but we have to go to work! Some of us find comfort in hearing that it’s the quality of the time we spend with our child, not the quantity. Unfortunately, research shows us otherwise. The more time that children spend with their parents, the better off they are in the long run. QUANTITY really does matter!

So what can we do? Here are 5 tips that helped us as we faced the working parents’ struggle.

Tip 1: Seek Out a Family-Friendly Employer


Family-Friendly Employers are difficult to find, but some employers are much more accommodating for working parents than others. Some employers will allow you to bring your child to work with you, provide on-site day care, compressed work weeks, or even allow telecommuting so that you can work from home.

It takes some research to find these types of employers, but they do exist. They are highly sought-ought since many employees build longevity with these employers as this is such a valued employment perk.  Some of the most family-friendly employers include big names like Colgate-Palmolive, Google, REI, Prudential, Nokia, and Johnson and Johnson.  For a longer list see the Forbes Top 25 Work-Life Balance Employers at

Fathers are often overlooked by employers as needing family-friendly perks, so you MUST stand up for your rights. You, too, may qualify for time off after the baby is born or to care for a sick child under FMLA regulations so be sure to request your time as needed. Make it clear to your employer that being available for your child is IMPORTANT to you.

Tip 2: Learn How to Juggle


If you have a spouse, try to organize your schedules so that at least one of you can spend more time with your kiddo. If your employer allows FLEX-TIME such as a 4-day work week, make your 4 days from Monday – Thursday and have your spouse make theirs from Tuesday to Friday.

This means your child could have at least one of you around every Monday and Friday. That’s two days less per week of daycare and two days MORE to love on your baby. Don’t know if your employer has Flex-Time? Just ASK!!! Many employers are willing to work with you on this matter, but you have to take the first step and ask.

Tip 3: Change your Career

graduation-cap-311936_640Sometimes, we just have to realize that the line of work that we are in is just NOT Family-Friendly!  This means that if you are serious about prioritizing your children, you will have to change your career.  I worked in the Human Resources field for a few years and found myself pulling long hours and working nights and weekends. This was not good for a mother of two! Although the pay was great, no money can recover the lost time with my kids. Knowing that psychology says we must be available for our kids, I took a lower paying job that allowed me to spend more time with my kids.

Reevaluate your career.  Jobs that require little education are usually the least flexible when it comes to scheduling and family perks. You would be surprised how your quality of life can change significantly once you obtain a college degree. Also, remember to consider the occupational lifestyle, as some jobs offer less time off than others.  A school nurse, for example, will have a more family-friendly schedule than an RN working in a regular hospital setting, so be sure to choose  your career and industry wisely!

Yes, it’s true that going to school and being a working parent won’t be easy, but the long term benefits definitely outweigh the short term challenges. Look into a more family-friendly career and the educational requirements for it… you never know where your education can take you.

Click here to read additional info about this topic.

*Quick fact: Parents who graduate from college increase the likelihood of their children also graduating from college.

Tip 4: Down Size and Minimize

When you prioritize your little ones and scale down from a high paying job, this will force you to be more careful with your money. Evaluate your cost of living budget and shave off any unnecessary expenses. If needed, change your lifestyle. Kids would rather have at least one of their parents at home, than own an expensive car, fancy house or go on super luxurious vacations. My husband and I decided to live modestly so that we could spend much more time with our kids.

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We love the saying, “Small houses grow BIG love.”

Your children will only be young for a VERY SHORT time. Don’t miss their childhood by working obsessively for material possessions that will wither away.

Tip 5: Negotiate During the Interview

There are some GREAT Family-focused employers in our country. Your job as a concerned and dedicated parent is to do your research and find them. Groom yourself for their culture, and be prepared to show your value to the company in your industry. If you work in a high demand occupation where there is a shortage of workers skilled in your area such as engineering, you are actually in the driver’s seat!

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Make topics such as flexible scheduling, working from home, and family-friendly policies, the negotiation points during your interview. At least when you make it clear that you are seeking a family-focused employer you put all your cards on the table up front. You can then make your selection based on what they offer.

It makes me sad when a parent tells me that their child spends long hours in day care, simply because the parent thinks it HAS to be that way! It DOESN’T HAVE to be this way! You can change it, but you will have to your homework to land the ideal job with the best employer.  Work up the courage to face your boss and negotiate what’s most important to you…time with your babies!

We hope these tips address the question from Elias, and also help provide tips for many more of you facing the challenges of working parents.


*If you liked this article, please be sure to leave comments and ideas for future articles.

Happy Parenting!

Leave comments, feedback or success stories below!



  1. Great information on your site and loved reading this article for people who want to spend more time with their children when they were young.
    Unfortunately this was something I did miss out on when mine were young but I was lucky enough to have the help of both sets of grandparents.

    • Hi Cheryl, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the article. Be comforted in knowing that grandparents are usually GREAT substitutes for the “Real Thing”. That is a bonus, that many parents cannot enjoy. I’m sure your kids loved their time with their grandparents. And it really helps relieve the “working-guilt” when we know our kids are being cared for by someone who truly cares and loves them! Thanks for the feedback!

    • Hi Jakob,

      Yes! Family is so important. And we have way too many kids in our country spending way too much time in low-quality day care centers! This is another issue that I’ll be sure to address in a future article!

      Thanks for visiting the site! Come back soon!

  2. Ryan

    The “seek out a family-friendly employer” is the most important part of this list in my opinion. You can’t have a work-life balance without it can you?

    • Hi Ryan,

      Yes, that is probably the most important part. Some parents struggle so much to find a family-friendly employer that they finally decide to start their own business and be their own boss.

      Employers need to realize that when a working parent is worried about their babies they are not very productive on the job. Employers could reduce employee turnover rates by implementing more Family-Friendly strategies that cost little to implement, and yield LARGE payouts in employee loyalty and longevity.

      Thanks for the feedback! … and please check back often for more articles!

  3. Some great tips. I’m trying to get my own business started so that I can spend more time with the family. Problem is that during the start up, I’m spending less time as I work full time and running the business when I’m not working. Hopefully soon I’ll be rid of the job.

    • Hi Jaime,

      It’s GREAT to hear that you are trying to start your own business. The transition period, will be tough, but SOOOO worth it! Hang tight as your family will reap the rewards once your business takes off!

      Also, be sure to make your family part of the business, they can learn many skills and be your support system when things are shaky. You’d be amazed at how much our kids can contribute to a family business. Just be sure to let them express their own talents and teach them simple tasks that are fun to complete.

      Thanks for the comments and Best wishes on your business!

  4. This is great. I think so many parents struggle to spend time with their kids nowadays because the economy now requires both parents to work to maintain a standard of living. Its really sad but its just the way things are. I like your advice on parents put their child in daycare for 12 hours because they THINK it has to be that way. But more times than not there is always a solution – Not an easy solution but there is always a solution.

    • Hi Matt!

      Yes! It just takes some creativity and optimism to seek out alternatives to having our kids spend long hours in day care. Regardless of whether both parents are working or you are a single parent, seeking out alternatives requires parents to push employers to their “Family-friendly” limits.

      I had a friend who asked our employer if she could leave every day to pick up her child after school and bring her back to the office until the work day was done. It was an unusual request, but the employer said YES!

      You definitely have to be BOLD and courageous if you are going to spend more time with your kids!

      Thanks for your comments and come back soon for our next article!

  5. This article definitely hits close to home. I have 3 children who have been out of diapers for awhile, but I wanted to stay home with them when they were babies. We just couldn’t do it. Working hard now to be around more since they’re older and a lot more influenced by the things this crazy world offers. Question. Do you think it might turn off a potential employer to try and negotiate being able to work from home during the interview process? Or are you saying it’s good to ASK if that particular company OFFERS alternative work schedules to its employees?

    • Hi Donna,
      I’m glad to hear that you are trying to spend more time with your kids now, than you were afforded in the past. Yes, the world is definitely ready to take our kiddos and lead them astray at any point! We do need to be present and available for our kids, no matter what their age! Even our grown kids still need our advice and support as they face the many challenges of being a young adult.

      In response to your question about the alternative work schedules. It really depends on the job you are applying for and the employer.

      If you are applying for a low-skilled occupation that has minimal educational requirements, then you have very little negotiation leverage, except your personal experience and charm!

      If, however, the job you are seeking is a high-demand occupation where skilled, educated, and talented staff is hard to find, then you definitely can discuss family-friendly perks. It is also good to ask about what perks the company offers, but much of this information is now available on an Employer’s website.

      The best time to discuss these matters is when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This is where you can say, “Your website shows that you allow flex-time and job sharing. How popular are these alternatives at this location?” Then you can get a feel for the employer’s feelings about these strategies. You might get a response that shows that it’s all “Lip service” and just being used as bait to attract employees or you might strike gold and find that the employer’s responsiveness to working parents is genuine and sincere.

      Hope this answered your question! Check back often for our next article!

  6. For me it is hard to find the time to spend with my family. I work afternoons and work sometimes til after midnight. So the only times I get are the mornings, but then my wife maybe working then. When I am around though I try to be there for them. It is difficult though when I’m still tired from working the night before.

    • Yes, it can definitely be hard to find time for family when your work schedule is difficult. In this situation we have to evaluate what factors can be controlled and which factors cannot. Your family is here to stay and the fact that children grow so quickly cannot be controlled. Also, remember that we can never recover this lost time with our kids. But what can be controlled is your job situation. In my 20 plus years of consulting, I’ve met many people who think their job is a constant, when in reality, this is what we have most control over. Even in the same industry, employers vary in their family-friendly practices, so sometimes it’s just a matter of finding a more supportive employer. Hope this gets you going on some ideas to change your situation. Let me know if you have more questions.

  7. What a bright and enthusiastic voice you have. I went through this dilemma years ago with my now grown daughters. Don’t know how I made it through and don’t know how they turned out to be so wonderful, in spite of my wife’s and my work loads back then. Your information is great and to the point. Could have used this a couple of decades ago. Thanks

    • Hi George!
      Thanks for your encouragement. Yes, kids are definitely resilient, even when times are tough! It sounds like you and your wife had lots of love for them, so I’m sure that helped so much! Now if they are parents already or thinking about it soon, please send your daughters our way. We appreciate positive visitors like you! Come back soon!

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