Whether you’re starting a fruitful career alongside a well-established family, or you’re an experienced social worker about to start a family, nothing will completely prepare you for the change you’re about to experience. Statistically, social workers are females and will face the demands of motherhood, which can be grueling at the best of times. You will need to attend soccer games, be available for family meals, and be able to leave your work at the door. Unfortunately, this goes both ways, because you will need to focus on career development whilst leaving your family life at the door. Luckily for you, we have some excellent tips that will help you manage the manic world of social work with the chaotic life of having a family.
What Is a Social Worker?
Social workers work tirelessly to support people and boost their way of life. No two days will be the same, and you will help everyone from families struggling to stay together to those with mental health issues.
A career in social work can be rewarding, but it will also be extremely stressful. If you’re not careful, you could end up carrying that stress into other parts of your life. However, if you think you’re up to the challenge, see our short outline below on how to become a social worker.
How To Become a Social Worker
You will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in social care to start your career before heading off to do a master’s. You need to obtain a master’s in social care if you wish to open up more doors and become fully licensed. If you didn’t complete a social work degree, you can always switch paths and complete a master’s to this end.
You will need to accomplish enough fieldwork to prove that you’re capable of carrying out the job. Typically, this will involve you learning within communities under the supervision of a fully qualified social worker.
The next thing you need to do is apply for state licensure. This will increase your proven abilities and improve your job prospects. You can find out all about the state licensure procedures through the licensing board.
Once you’ve achieved the above, you can choose where to specialize and begin chasing your dreams. Social work will constantly change so you need to keep up with the world. You will do this through continued professional development.
If you’re still with us and want to know how you can do all of this alongside having a family, then read on.
You Set the Goals
Decisions you make are yours alone, and it’s up to you to set the goals you wish to achieve. Sometimes in life, your priorities will switch and that’s perfectly fine. To start with, you may work longer hours to move your career forwards, leaving your family to order a cheeky takeaway more often. Then, at other times, you may drop down to part-time work so that you can be present for when your little ones finish school.
Balancing work and life is different for everyone, but you must make the decisions for yourself. Once your children are older, you will be able to focus more on work.
Set Strict Boundaries with Colleagues
No matter where you work, your bosses and colleagues may try and take you for a mug by expecting you to drop everything for them. Although you may be expected to remain on call and work long hours, you need to start from the beginning with a firm ability to say no. Keeping hold of your downtime will mean not answering emails or calls out of hours, and not agreeing to extra hours all of the time. You are already sacrificing some of your precious family time, you don’t need to be missing it anymore.
You may feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders and that you need to be there to answer everyone’s call, but you need to remember to look after yourself in the process.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re busy bearing the burden of others and trying to be present in your own family, it can take an enormous toll on your physical and mental health. Therefore, you must learn how to take care of yourself. If you feel like you need to go for a walk on your own to clear your head, that’s fine.
If you’ve given everything you have to provide for others, you won’t be able to function properly. You must take a moment and resupply your oxygen levels. If you don’t stop to restock your mental mojo, you can end up facing burnout and becoming seriously ill.
Your Children Are Fine Without You
Your children need to know you care, but that doesn’t mean you need to be there 24/7. For some reason, there’s still this expectation that a mother should be available at all times. However, that’s just another myth; it’s highly unlikely that your mother was there at your beck and call. Your child will benefit from the social interactions that they will get through experiencing summer camps, after-school activities, and daycare. Having their own life experiences will allow you to look after your mental well-being.
This doesn’t mean that being available isn’t important. However, you need to find the right balance. If you send your children away on too many adventures, they may start to think you don’t want them around.
Arrange For Excellent Childcare
You will be working extremely long hours throughout your social work career, so you need to know that your children are in good hands. Ensure you find the best and most reliable care for your children. You will need an arsenal of care options at your disposal. For starters, you need to find a school that offers plenty of enrichment hours for those early mornings and later evenings. Further, you should take the time to network with other parents in your local area – you can do childcare exchanges.
Outside of school and a regular babysitter, you can hire a teenage babysitter for the weekends or send your child off for a visit with the grandparents. Of course, just remember that you need to make sure that you spend time with your children as well.
Socialize Outside of Work and Family
If you spend a direct percentage of time between work and with your family, it doesn’t leave much room for yourself. As important as your family and career are, you need to find time away from both of them to see other people and make yourself happy. Socializing with other adults outside of work and your family will allow you to release any pent-up negative energy.
When you plan time with your friends or family and you know you’re not working, make sure you are strict and stick to the plan. Your workplace may attempt to convince you to work extra, so be sure to put your foot down and put yourself first.
Squeeze In Some Exercise
No matter what you’re doing in life, it’s important to get in some exercise to get the endorphins flowing. Exercising doesn’t have to take hours of your week up to be successful, you could consider just cycling to work instead of driving every day. Alternatively, you can take your family on a walk at the weekend and swing by the local store for your weekly groceries – this way you get to spend time with your family whilst exercising and being productive.
Between your career and your hectic family life, it can be tough to squeeze in exercise. The most important thing to remember is that if you’re doing something, that’s better than doing nothing.
Find a Fantastic Hobby
When you’ve got that perfect rare moment when the children are at school, the partner is away, and you’ve got some time to yourself, you should find an engaging hobby to get stuck into. This can be anything at all. Perhaps you always wanted to learn an instrument or learn how to sew. Taking time to explore passions outside of your career is a proven way of improving your overall mental wellbeing, which is important if you want to support others effectively.
Chasing down a career in social work can be extremely rewarding because you get to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. However, when it comes to starting a family of your own, it can be difficult to find the perfect balance between work and your family life. There’s no ultimate guide on how to achieve this because it’s different for everyone. Although, if you make sure that you are clear in your goals, firm with your workplace, and take the time to find excellent childcare, you should be able to make yourself available to carry out all of the other important things in life. Remember, you don’t have to be a superhero and nobody is expecting you to – take care of yourself so you can care for others efficiently.