Love isn’t all you need.

A couple of musically inclined working dads once said, “all you need is love” – and while love is undoubtedly an essential ingredient, there’s a broader recipe to navigating the big jobs of parent + professional.

With great responsibility comes great stress, and it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly falling short. You’re dedicated to your career and providing for your family while also striving to be an attentive and engaged parent. But real talk – parenting alone is a challenge, and mixing in professional pressure can create a complicated melody. We’re always serving others – and often doing so with a grateful heart and with fervor – but we forget to show OURSELVES a little L-O-V-E.

So this February, show up for YOURSELF and try our L.O.V.E. (for you) approach to those tough moments: Let it be, Open-mindedness, Vision, and Emotional regulation.

  • Let it be: As a working parent, it’s crucial to let go of the idea of perfection and embrace the messiness of life. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all, but this can lead to burnout and frustration. Recognize that you won’t always be able to do everything perfectly, and that’s okay. In fact – one of our core values at Josie is that you often find “the awesome in imperfection.” Guess what? Imperfect makes you more relatable.  It shows your kids that it’s okay to mess up.  It builds resilience.  So, let it be, Beatles-style. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and embrace the chaos.
  • Open-Mindedness: Being open-minded is essential for working parents – there are WAY too many things telling us we’re “supposed to” do things a certain way. The societal pressures are real. But remember, you’re the composer of your own life’s symphony. We can try new approaches to balance work and family life – and that includes saying “no” (to joining every parent chat group… to signing up for 3 sports teams…to going to every school event). It’s also important to be open-minded in your interactions with your children. They may not always understand the demands of your job, so try to communicate openly and honestly with them. It’s ok to be clear with them that while your career isn’t everything, but it’s an important part of who you are.  “Living is easy with eyes closed/ Misunderstanding all you see” – Open your eyes and your mind, and you’ll find that living is not only easier but richer, too.
  • Vision: Having a clear vision, rooted in strong values, of the working parent you want to be is essential, and more important than individual achievements. Vision > goals. Identify how you want to show up as a working parent and stick to your values. Align your priorities with your passions to create a fulfilling career and family life. Remember, when you have a clear vision, you’re more likely to achieve your goals, whether it’s joining a lonely hearts club band or getting that big promotion or living in a yellow submarine or supporting your child in their endeavors. Sound a bit up overwhelming? Well, you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  Josie has helped so many clients create a vision for themselves as a working parent – and they have found it to be transformative!
  • Emotional Regulation: Finally, emotional regulation is crucial for working parents. Recognize and accept your emotions, but don’t let them dictate your actions. Start small and try this: just NOTICE your feelings. That’s it. That’s the tea. Simply notice what’s happening in your body.  This is the first step in being able to then regulate your emotions and not let them control you. It can also be incredibly powerful to model emotional regulation for your children. Those tiny human sponges are constantly watching and learning from you, so demonstrating healthy coping mechanisms can be so beneficial. Show them that it is okay to feel upset or overwhelmed, but also show them how to manage these feelings in a constructive way – how to take a sad song, and make it better…

Being a successful working parent requires more than just love – sorry John Lennon & Paul McCartney (no disrespect). Embracing the L.O.V.E. principles can help working parents thrive in both their careers and family life. Let go of perfection, be open-minded, have a clear vision, and practice emotional regulation to create a sustainable, fulfilling work-life balance. Remember, being a working parent is not a destination but a journey down your own Abbey Road – enjoy!

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