Work-family reconciliation: aim for a flexible balance

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Work-family reconciliation: aim for a flexible balance
Work-family reconciliation: aim for a flexible balance

The day after the start of the school year, do you wonder how you will manage to do everything? Is your to-do list for balancing work and family frustrating?


Like a tightrope walker of family management, aim for balance!

When it comes to work-family balance, two points must be considered: accommodations in the workplace and accommodations at home. First, the Ministère de la famille du Québec defines work-family balance as “the search for a balance between the demands and responsibilities related to professional life and family life”.


This search for balance is often achievable by certain workplace accommodations. Your company or organization can help you with reconciliation by implementing certain measures. Then, accommodations at home are often done by sharing tasks and different types of planning.

In the short term, we plan for example: grocery lists, lunches, laundry loads, in the medium term we plan trips (who will take the children to their activities),outings etc. Despite these effective accommodations, some parents may feel like they are chasing their breath, feeling overwhelmed or even incompetent.

According to the Canadian Mental He alth Association, 58% of Canadians feel “overwhelmed” when it comes to juggling different areas of their lives.

In an era of hyper parenting and the pursuit of hyper performance at work, it can be hard to feel like a competent parent and worker.

So how do you reconcile work and family? Aiming for a flexible balance.


You can compare flexible balance to a tightrope walker walking on a wire. Sometimes he has to stop, go a little more to one side than the other to continue better. It can happen to him to fall, then he goes up. The walk of the tightrope walker is flexible. A search for satisfactory balance must also be flexible to adjust to the vagaries of daily family, personal and professional life.

Some people believe that being balanced means investing effort and time equally in every area of our lives. These people may then have the impression of not having enough time, of not putting their efforts in the right places or even of being exhausted. They are looking for a static balance.

Tips for finding a flexible work-family-personal balance

Personal Reflection

Revisiting our often high ideals: we livein a context of performance research both at work and at home. You have to be careful not to associate your self-esteem with the number of things crossed off our list.

If you feel frustrated when something unexpected happens, your balance may be hanging by a thread or not flexible. The unexpected complicates our conciliation and our balance, but they are also part of life. This is when choices have to be made. You can't do everything and not everything has the same importance.

Family reflection and actions

Discuss with your spouse the type of family you want, the values you want to pass on to your children. Plan times during the month to discuss these values and your goals.

Watch and notice! For a week, write down everything you do. It is by honestly noting your activities that you will see the time you allocate to your different activities. Does real time correspond to your expectations, your values? It's time to correct the situation.(These tracks are inspired by Merrill and Merrill, 2003.)

You can also make a list of your family priorities, for example:

  • Make a schedule by spending more time on what is consistent with your values. Although making a schedule takes time, in the long run it will save you time.
  • Use technology for your personal schedules, family schedules or to give you reminders.
  • Share and communicate with your partner. Doensure that priorities translate into everyday choices and behaviors.
  • Plan family, individual and couple time. Even if you don't have much time for date nights, knowing the date of your next getaway can do you good.
  • Exercise. In addition to being a moment for you, exercise can increase your energy level, your concentration and help you manage your mood.


Although a line must be drawn between work and home, these two areas of life are not enemies (Merrill & Merril, 2003). One or the other can demand more of us at one time or another and this is related to a flexible balance.

When it comes to working while at home, share your positive experiences, report stories of people with amazing accomplishments. This will help the family have a positive outlook on work and even teach your children to love working!


Canadian Mental He alth AssociationMerrill, R., A. & Merrill, R., R. (2003). Life matters. Creating a dynamic balance of work, family, time, & money. McGraw-Hill, USA.

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