A Working Parent’s Guide to Surviving a Snow Day

When you have two working parents, unexpected days without school can really put you out. Snow days are awesome for kids. Not so for parents. By planning ahead, we can make them easier for us to handle.

Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!
Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!

Dear God, Don’t Let Them Cancel School!

Not long ago, I was awoken at 5am by the home telephone. Considering the time, and since no one (except my mom or telemerketers) calls me on the home phone, my disorientation turned to dread as I saw that it had begun to snow overnight. Before I could reach the phone, the answering machine picked up and I heard:

“This is an important message from the Nyack school district. Classes are cancelled for the day”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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How to Cope with Work-Family Conflict and Stress (part 2)

Part 2 of a Series- Informal Work Accommodations to Family

In this series of articles, I’ll look at research and best practices to provide some advice on how to better handle the stress that comes with juggling work-family conflict.

Ever feel like this because of work-family conflict? Maybe Informal Work Accommodations to Family can help.
Ever feel like this because of work-family conflict? Maybe Informal Work Accommodations to Family can help.

In part 1 of this series, I described problem-focused coping as a way to reduce the stress that comes from work-family conflict. I’ll give you a minute to go back and refresh youselves… Ok, you’re back? Great. Now for part two.

While knowing about problem-focused coping is useful, those tactics are pretty general. That got me to thinking “wouldn’t it be great if someone figured out some problem-focused coping behaviors specific to people trying to juggle work and family?”

You know what? Someone did… And that person was me! Work-family specific coping strategies were the focus of my dissertation, and I’d like to share a little of this with you today.

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How to Cope with Work-Family Conflict and Stress (part 1)

Part 1 of a Series- Problem Focused Coping

In this series of articles, I’ll look at research and best practices to provide some advice on how to better handle the stress that comes with juggling work-family conflict.

Ever feel like this because of work-family conflict? Maybe problem-focused coping can help.
Ever feel like this because of work-family conflict? Maybe problem-focused coping can help.

You promised your family you’d get home early to get to the school recital. But your boss just pushed back the department meeting to the end of the day. You can’t be in two places at once.

What do you do? (we’ll get to that)

How do you feel? STRESSED

Stress occurs when the demands you face (promise made to family vs. work demands) seem to exceed your capacity for handling them (Can you miss the meeting without consequences? How will your family react?).

Obviously, work-family conflict can result in significant levels of stress, as the demands of our two most important and demanding adult roles (family and work) compete for a finite resource, time, as well as an only-slowly-renewable resource, our mental and emotional energy.

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What is Work-Family Balance, Anyway?

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name” – Confucius

After a vacation week at Disney, FWF blog is back for 2013
After a vacation week at Disney, FWF blog is back for 2013

Since starting this blog, I’ve been writing 2000 words a week on the general theme of work-family balance.  Before that, I published several academic journal articles and a dissertation about work-family balance (my cv here). You would think this would make the concept of work-family balance very clear to me. However, “balance” is exquisitely difficult to precisely define.

It is easier to define what work-family balance is not. I can confidently say it is not:

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