How do you make it work when you’re in a couple, raising a family and both parents want to progress their careers?
This is a question we’re often asked by our Fellows and why a dedicated couples’ workshop is an integral part of the Leaders Plus Fellowship.
Below we share our top tips for making dual careers a success.
1. Family Vision
You’re probably familiar with vision and goal-setting as part of your own professional development, but have you tried setting your vision for your family? As a dual career couple, having an aligned vision for what you want for your family life as well as your careers is a must. Without this foundation, balancing work and life as a couple could become very stressful.
Now that you’re aligned it’s important to plan your working weeks to avoid tension between your individual needs and the needs of your family. Have a clear rota for your working patterns as well as family responsibilities to ensure that these are split in a way that supports both of you. If you need outside help such as additional childcare or help with the house, then make sure you’re both on the same page with this. Having a weekly check-in on what’s coming up and what’s in place to facilitate that can be really useful.
Download our free Couples Questionnaire to help with this.
3. Prepare for the unexpected
As all working parents know, having a back-up for when things don’t quite go to plan is a must. A reliable support network – whether that be your parent network, family or a trusted sitter for example – can take the stress out of unexpected situations. If one of you needs to be at home or on hand, then make sure you’re keeping an eye on whether that responsibility tends to fall to the same person. If it does, what can you do about it?
4. Communication is key
There is no right or wrong way to making dual careers work when you have a family. But what is important is to communicate with each other about how things are going, what is and isn’t working and acknowledging that family and work life are continually changing. Schedule time for joint reflection and open conversation every month or quarter to make any necessary adaptions.
5. Learn from others
Being a dual career couple is not always easy, but hearing the experiences of others can not only make you feel less alone in your endeavours, but also might help to spark some more creative ideas on how to make things work well for you. Tune into our Big Careers, Small Children podcast where some of our inspiring guests discuss this topic.
Find out more about the Leaders Plus Fellowship, an award-winning 9-month programme to support senior leaders who are also parents. Download the brochure.