The Benefits of Starting a Working Parents’ Collective
As anyone trying to do it knows, being a working parent is tough. You are constantly being pulled in different directions, trying to satisfy completely different people and very different objectives. But most working parents would also agree that the struggle is very much worth it. Being able to have both children and a career can be the best of both worlds. It’s just about having the necessary arrangements in place to make things manageable.
One great way to do this is to start a working parents’ collective. This is a relatively new, fancy term for a tried and tested idea. Essentially, a group of working parents with similar responsibilities and concerns club together to share the tasks involved in child-raising, ultimately making it easier for everyone. From small cleaning tasks like trying to remove chewing gum from clothes to regular chores like the school run, collaborating with others in a similar position can make all of your lives that little bit more convenient. Here’s a handy guide to getting started:
Advertise for like-minded working parents
First things first: you need to find other like-minded working parents who are also looking for help and are interested in joining a collective. Some people do this simply by word of mouth; maybe there are people you know in a similar position already? Maybe friends have friends who’d really benefit from the arrangement? If you don’t know anyone, but are still keen to set something up, try advertising online instead.
Set your structure
Once you have a group willing to give this a go, it’s important to define a clear structure for the collective. Meet up and discuss what kinds of tasks you all need help with and how the working parents’ collective could function. Many focus on things like the daily school run or organising post-school activities – each parent takes it in turn to be responsible. However, there are no set boundaries, so find out what works for you.
After the collective has been up and running for a few months, it’s worth taking a moment to review progress: what works, what doesn’t and how you might change the set-up to suit everyone’s needs and availability. Lots of people find the structured activities helpful in relieving everyday responsibilities, though a real advantage is also the ad hoc practical and emotional support you get from other parents in the same situation as yourself. Maybe you quickly need advice on how to remove chewing gum from clothes, or are having a bad day and need to chat. It’s great to have a group of people you can call on, one of whom is likely to be able to help at any given time.
Once you’ve got your working parents’ collective up and running, you’ll hopefully find it very helpful in your day-to-day life. Your children will benefit from socialising with other families, and also from knowing you are less stressed. Remember to plan, review and communicate to keep things running smoothly. Being able to pursue your career while bringing up kids will make all the hard work worth it in the end.
If you're already part of a working parents' collective we'd love to hear from you. Please do pop over and find us on social media, Facebook and Twitter and let us know how things are going with your group.
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