Advancing in your career can mean more money and prestige. But along with those perks can come longer hours and mandatory business travel, which can be especially tricky for working parents.
Amy Rosenow knows firsthand how challenging it can be to balance career and family obligations. She was promoted to chief operating officer of an investment firm while on maternity leave, and the Chicago-based mother of two has been firing on all cylinders ever since. She's now CEO and co-founder of a software tool that helps working parents handle schedules and logistics.
“It's nearly impossible to stay focused at work if you are worrying about your kids," she says. “Having reliable, loving childcare is the glue that holds our family together." For Rosenow and her husband (who has a demanding job as a surgeon), that means budgeting for a full-time nanny even though her kids are now in school. The nanny provides coverage in case “someone is sick or there's no school one day or during the whole summer," she explains.
Not every household budget can accommodate a full-time nanny, but there are still ways to ensure your parental duties don't take a back seat as your career reaches heights you've never seen or expected. Consider these strategies.
Where possible, budget for more than the bare minimum of childcare
Childcare can be expensive, but Rosenow recommends budgeting for more childcare than you think you need. For instance, she says, if your kids attend a daycare that closes at 6:00 and you're constantly fighting traffic to arrive by 5:59, it might be worth investigating other options to give yourself more breathing room. Perhaps it's paying a babysitter to do the evening pickup from daycare and start dinner or finding a daycare that stays open later.
Rosenow says her family has cut back on travel and Saturday evenings out to offset the cost of their nanny. She feels that trade-off is well worth it “in terms of your ability to make life work with a reasonable amount of happiness day to day."