Whether you’ve lived in the suburbs for a few years or you’re a current city-dweller about to close on the perfect place outside of city limits, one thing is true: You’ve answered the call of the suburbs. It may not be cool to your punk rock friends, but you found the peace and quiet your family wants at the price you like! But instead of relying on public transportation like you did in your city days, you’re in the car for a long commute.
How do you balance work and family life when you’re sitting in your car on the highway for half the day? Moving to the suburbs definitely has its pros, but even positive, exciting changes can require a period of adjustment. As your day-to-day life changes and you embrace a slower-paced lifestyle (and potentially a bigger living space to fill!), it’s important to strike a balance and ensure your time and money continue to be spent where it matters most to you.
Here, we’ll go over potential work-life balance problems and solutions. That way, you can more effectively manage the hustle and bustle of your work/city life while still wringing every drop of joy out of the time you have with your family in the ‘burbs.
1. Work Errands into the Work Day
No one likes a long commute, but the advantage of going into the city to earn your paycheck is the higher density of, well, everything. Unlock time with your family in the evenings and on weekends by checking off errands on your to-do list during your office hours.
Ideas for how to run errands during the day:
Take your clothes to the dry cleaners on the way to pick up a sandwich or salad. Swing by the grocery store on the way home to replenish the fridge, with the bonus that you’ll be able to get it done faster without kids in tow. Pick up prescriptions while you’re already in the car. By working errands into your work day, you can relax more during what are supposed to be your leisure hours.
2. Stay Close to Home on Weekends
By ticking things off your to-do list during the week, you can keep the car in the garage on the weekends and enjoy more time in and around the home you just bought. Instead of heading for the highway on-ramp, look for activities you can do with your family that are close to home.
Fun ways to stay close to home on the weekends:
Attend events put on by your new community. Explore nearby parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools (if the weather’s right). Host a barbecue and invite the neighbors. Even if you’ve only moved locally, growing roots in your new neighborhood will make your suburban house feel like a suburban home and allow you to enjoy your family more — which is likely why you moved to the suburbs in the first place!
3. Ask for Help When You Need It
Do you still have trouble finding a good work-life balance with enough personal time for you? If so, it’s okay to ask for help from friends and family or hire professional help. Don’t be shy about asking a loved one to drop by to make dinner or pick the kids up from school. Or if you need to pay someone to mow the yard or clean the house because you just don’t have the time or energy, that’s okay, too. While it might be an added expense if it helps lower your stress levels over the long run, think of it as an investment in yourself and your family.
4. Find a Job that Works for You
If you ask yourself: “Is a 2-hour commute too long?” Or even, “Should I take a job with a long commute?” it’s a good idea to evaluate your current priorities. Are you focused on climbing the career ladder? Would you prefer spending as much time as possible with your family? Or is a long commute worth it?
In addition to your career and personal goals, be sure to add in commuting costs when working out the calculation of work-life balance — both the time and costs for fueling and maintaining a car. The average American commute lasts almost 30 minutes one way, which adds an extra hour to the work day. Would the time and added expense force you into a poor work-life balance that no amount of effective time management could counter?
If the answers to these questions point you away from your full-time job in the city, consider seeking a remote job that allows you to work from home or negotiate flexible working hours with your current employer. While you may need to work at your job, your job should also work for you, so take steps to find one that fits with your current life stage.
5. Decorate Your Suburban Home Stress-Free
No matter what time of year you move to the suburbs or how long you’ve been there, decorating the house can be a stressful time, even without a long commute. To make your life easier, seek out ways to shop more efficiently when furnishing and decorating your home. After all, every moment with your family counts, and you don’t want to spend that precious time — or your hard-earned cash — doing furniture shopping. When you shop at CORT Furniture Outlet, you can find stylish, quality finds online or at your local store and pick up your furniture the same day. Plus, with prices up to 70% off retail, you can save money for something fun, like a family trip. Shop CORT Furniture Outlet today!