Managing Your Wellbeing as a Working Parent

Being a parent is not easy. Your responsibility begins the minute your child is born and continues at least for the next 18 years, if not longer.

The onus of parenthood is almost always more on the mother than the father. If one or both parents are working and/or living either in a nuclear or joint family, the term wellbeing becomes a blur in their lives.


It is important to recognize that unless we take care of ourselves and love, nurture and cherish ourselves, we soon become incapable of caring for others. It is important to understand that the wellbeing of a parent (father or mother) is important for the entire family’s wellbeing. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we are not capable of caring for others. When we are fulfilled, we are able to give to others.

Here are some practical, simple ways in which to cope (they are not optional but have to be included in your day).


Realize that sometimes it is you who expect more from you than anyone else. Accept that doing it all is not an option. Planning and dividing chores and professional work however is possible.

Especially with small children or elders at home to take care of, it is not a weakness for you to seek assistance. Discuss with the family what you can manage and what you find difficult to handle. Assign some responsibilities to various members of the family and make them accountable for them.

Sometimes, women obsessed by their desire to be “needed” smother attention on children and family and exhaust themselves unnecessarily. The family knows you are there when they need you. Be emotionally available for them to access you when they need you. Allow them to understand that freedom always comes with responsibility.


Forgive yourself for feeling uncertainty or guilt, as you’re not alone. Being a successful working mother is a balancing act – be proud you are handling it and are busy to the right extent at work and home. You are the same person in both places, not two different people! Feel proud of being a successful working mother – one busy, fulfilled person rather than two separate entities.

Don’t let others convince you about your abilities and inadequacies.

Be realistic and kind and compassionate to yourself. You need to if you want to stay sane and balanced.


Managing time is critical for working parents – always too much to do and too little time. Developing some time management practices will help.

Sometimes, stressing about managing your time itself can be stressful.

Might your goals and expectations for time management be unrealistic?

Do you feel others manage their time better than you?

Are you fussy and over meticulous about time? Do you feel completing 9 out of 10 things on your to-do list is not good enough? Is perfectionism stressing you?

Are expectations from your family and community culture-based and unrealistic?

Do you feel you cannot segment your time appropriately?

Analyze your greatest challenges when it comes to managing your time. Identify those you can and cannot control. Don’t get frustrated that some things which are not in your control need to be let go.

Try to devote your energy to influencing the areas you have control over.


Busyness is expensive and unproductive. Stop trying to multitask.

Segment tasks instead. Make a to-do list of 10 tasks for the day. Prioritize the top three and get started on them and keep doing them to completion with total single-minded focus. Even if you don’t get everything done by the end of the day, at least what you did get done is complete and beautiful.

Practice the four D’s of time management –

Do What Is Important and Urgent – Work on tasks that take only a few minutes to complete. Finishing several small, quick tasks builds momentum for the bigger tasks.

Delegate What Is Important but Not Urgent – Reassign an essential task to someone else.

Delay/Defer What Is Not Important and Not Urgent – Temporarily pause and stagger a task which, needs to be done but can be done a bit later.

Drop or Delete – Check your task list for time wasters (people and tasks) and distractions and eliminate them.

Have an exercise and sleep routine. Try to sleep at least six hours per night + an extra half an hour when possible. Grab a power nap of 20 minutes if possible in the afternoon. Develop a meditation practice when you are at rest in an aware state.

Last but not least, prioritize relationships and spend time with people who matter most and who support you, not pull you down.


Do a self-audit of your daily and weekly schedule.

Identify how much time you are spending cleaning up and picking up after your spouse’s and children’s things around the home. Involve them into the cleaning responsibility by assigning a discipline of putting things in their place and keeping their areas of usage neat and tidy. Children benefit in later life from such discipline.

Learn to set boundaries on your time and the extent to which you will make up for work that others need to do.

Learn to say “NO”. This is difficult especially, when you want to please others but is necessary. It can be firm and yet kind and is necessary to keep you well.


Don’t try to be a super-woman. When you are drowning in work, household, family and career, start delegating.

Even young children, 4-5 years old can be involved. They can put away dishes, lay the table, feed pets, water plants, etc.

Older children can help with vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, taking out the trash, etc.

This will also enable them to learn simple daily household chores, which they will have to do themselves later in life and take some load off you.

This is definitely a win-win situation


Nowadays, especially since the pandemic, many things can be delivered to your doorstep. Take advantage of these services, e.g., groceries, medicines and ready-to-eat meals. Many consultations for various services are available online, from healthcare to learning a new skill.

Professional cleaning services are available and if you can afford it, you can be engaged to do a thorough cleaning once a week with just some maintenance cleaning by you throughout the week.

Working parents, especially women put their family first, their career next and themselves last.

Most parents when they get home from work don’t even take a short break, but plunge into their home and parenting role and overdo it because they feel guilty.

This is actually counterproductive and produces burnout. You need to make yourself a priority and focus on your wellbeing as well. When as a parent, you are at your peak health, mentally and physically, it will benefit you, your family and your work.

I hope this guide to managing your wellness as a working parent was useful and I wish everyone of you, especially the women that “You matter”, “You are enough” and “You are worth it”.

Happy International Women’s Day!


Dr. Prithika Chary
Senior Consultant Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, Epileptologist
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai

Life and Brain Health Coach, Founder & Chief Resource Person
Creative Karma & Be Your Best with Dr.Prithika Chary