For love and money: Why parents need purpose in their work

Kinderling News & Features

Work can take on a different meaning after you have kids.

You can start to wonder if the paycheck at the end of the week is enough. 

And what really is enough, when working means you have less time with your children?

Is it enough, given all the rigmarole it takes to juggle work and family life?

Prue Gilbert is the CEO and founder of Grace Papers, a company that supports working parents.

She says understanding why you work (beyond the financial gain) helps with the more difficult impacts of working when you have kids.

“What we find is that when you have a connection to purpose it goes beyond just the financial reward. One, you derive more from your work which delivers greater happiness and satisfaction and engagement with your career. And two, this often makes it easier to do a drop off and leave your child.”

But I have no brain space left to find my passion!

Working when you have small children can feel like you have no time for anything else.

It’s enough to put on matching socks and pull a comb through your hair.

Finding what your passion is might feel like going a step too far, but Prue says that everyone deserves a fulfilling career.

“I believe that we all have the right to find careers that nurture our gifts and talents and abilities. When we find those opportunities from a career perspective then we contribute more to the world.”

How do I find my connection to purpose?

When you love your work, you’ve got connection to purpose.

But what if you don’t love your work, how do you discover what it is that will make work satisfying?

Prue suggests working out your professional vision.

Grace Papers Coach and Facilitator Amanda Meehan says a professional vision is “ a bit like a career navigation system, anchoring you to your values and your family’s priorities, while still enabling you to stay true to the dream of what your career should look like.”

You can access the resources to map your professional vision through a trial with Grace Papers here

My partner works, I’m a single mum – all the reasons why fulfilling work is logistically impossible

There are many legitimate reasons why pursuing your dream job might not be logical right now, but Prue says that doesn’t have to stop you from planning.

“Don't discount yourself before you've even unpacked exactly what the barriers are. Then make an informed decision but still allow yourself to dream. We can all have different career cycles and maybe your step backwards (if that's the way you're looking at) is actually a strategic step backwards and you're developing an additional skill set with less responsibility, that suits you where you are at the moment but it's part of a pathway towards your bigger purpose and your ‘why’.”

When you love your job, but they’re completely inflexible

Having a baby can really put life into perspective. Like how a 12 hour working day just doesn’t cut it anymore. Even though before you had your baby you loved all 12 of those hours.

Going back to work can be a soul-destroying experience if you discover that “family-friendly” work conditions just aren’t part of your industry.

Prue says that when this happens you shouldn’t leave without standing up for yourself.

We strongly advocate for people to speak up in a way that demonstrates that you understand your responsibilities as well as your rights. Advocate for change using grace.

“Grace really implies an understanding of your gifts talents and abilities and being able to communicate them in a way that is gracious and understanding of the broader picture. Social change doesn't happen without every single one of us thinking about what our opportunities are to change the hearts and minds of another human being”