It’s almost May, and the sunshine is finally peeking through the clouds. As temperatures start to rise, you’ve probably noticed your company calendar filling up with PTO alerts for summer travels. For us adults, breaks in school no longer mean a break from having to be somewhere, but they do mean something to those of us with kids. With Spring Break behind us and Summer Vacation right around the corner, working parents are all too familiar with juggling days and events. The balance between home and work is extra tricky this time of year. Family and well-being is a big part of our company culture here at Blurb, so we chatted with some Blurb parents to see how they find success in both work and family life.
90% are happy with their balance.
This is a pretty significant figure. As with anything in life, balance isn’t always a given. Many parents noted that getting creative with schedules and work hours play a large part in making it all work. With Blurb’s flexible work-from-home policy playing a big role, a recent 2017 Blurb Employee survey shows that the statement “I am happy with the balance between my work and home life” received a 90% favorable rating overall.
There will be sacrifices.
Jen is a long time Blurb employee and mom to 3 kiddos under age 7. She says the flexibility to work from home is a wonderful thing for herself and her family, “I feel like I am able to be there for ‘most’ of the kids’ activities and not miss out on this time of their lives.” But of course, sacrifices have to be made sometimes, “I also work a lot at night to make up for any times I need to be there for the kids, and the team is very open with communication about anything that comes up.”
It takes a village.
Having a great network of family, friends, and coworkers helps when the unexpected happens. “The best part of working at Blurb has always been the people I work with every day. They see me not just as a colleague, but as a nurturing parent as well,” says Deepti, mom of 8-year-old Ami and Blurb engineer. “Take, for example, the day I brought my daughter to work. Everyone rallied to make her comfortable and answer all her million questions and spend their lunch hour chatting with her.”
Luckily, times have changed.
As a dad of three young adults and Blurb’s COO, Gene remembers a time that wasn’t so friendly to working dads. “I’m going to date myself, but when my kids were born, paternity leave didn’t exist. But thankfully, I was able to take two weeks of vacation and stayed home after each kid was born. It just wasn’t a part of any work culture at that point to recognize the benefit of having fathers at home for an extended period.”
Thankfully, many companies now embrace working dads, and paternity leave is becoming more and more common. In a groundbreaking new law, beginning in January 2017, many new parents with jobs in San Francisco will be eligible for six weeks of fully paid leave. According to SFGate, this is the result of the most comprehensive parental leave law offered anywhere in the country. Not only will laws like this help pay the bills for families, but it will also allow new dads the time to bond with their newborns—guilt-free.
“I took two weeks right when she was born and then took another six weeks after my wife went back to work when my daughter was a few months old,” explains Chipper, new dad to 18-month-old Charlee, and Senior Marketing Manager. “It was important to me to help my wife in whatever way I could for the first few weeks, and then after Charlee was a few months old, she could hang with just dad for a while.
With constant distractions like social media or unexpected work meetings, it can be hard to stay present in and outside of the office. But many find it’s the key to success. Deepti believes “that it is not how much time you spend doing work, but how productive you are in the time you spend doing it.” Her motivation is to always make every minute at work productive, so she can spend more time with her family. Chipper adds that he “makes it a point to put my phone away when my daughter is around when I get home from work”—a lesson in being present even those of us without children could learn.
Don’t forget about yourself.
Making healthy choices is important. Not only your family, but also for yourself. Lana, single mom to 9-year-old Layla and leader on Blurb’s product team, carves out 10 minutes of meditation each morning between school drop off and commute times. “Keep to a routine,” She explains, “Make your own health a priority, it will pay dividends to your children and you.”
What does it take for you to flourish at work and home? Have you found any particular mindset or practice helpful? Join our conversation and share your insights in the comments below!