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How can I set realistic goals and expectations for myself as a working or student parent, without feeling guilty or overwhelmed by what I can't accomplish?

Hi everyone,

I am a new parent and also a full-time employee. Balancing work and parenthood has been quite challenging for me, and I often feel guilty and overwhelmed when I cannot meet my obligations as a parent or at work. I would really appreciate some advice on how to set realistic goals for myself and manage my expectations so that I do not feel guilty or overwhelmed by what I cannot accomplish.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

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As a new parent working from home, I understand how challenging it can be to manage it all. Setting realistic goals and managing expectations have become an essential part of my routine. I have found that breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable team efforts can often be more productive than overwhelming myself with lofty goals.

As an independent contractor, I have the luxury of setting a flexible work schedule. Still, I make sure to communicate with my clients and colleagues about expectations, so they understand when I am unavailable due to parenting responsibilities. I also try to avoid multitasking and focus on each task at hand, which helps me get work done efficiently.

Another essential tool in managing my expectations is learning to say no. As much as I would like to take on every project, I know that there are limitations to my time and energy. By saying no to extra obligations, I can focus on achieving the essential tasks without stressing myself needlessly.

Setting work-life boundaries has been the most effective in managing my expectations. I try to stick to a work schedule that leaves time promised to my family. When distractions arise, and things cannot be completed during work hours, I remind myself that it is okay to complete these tasks later or delegate them to someone else.

In conclusion, balancing work and parenting requires being patient with yourself and adapting to change. Setting realistic, achievable goals, communicating and setting boundaries and priorities can go a long way. Remember, it's okay to ask for help, take a break and celebrate small wins to avoid feeling overwhelmed unnecessarily.



I completely understand your situation as I am also a working parent. Balancing work and children can often feel overwhelming, but setting realistic goals is the key to handling this situation. I try to be practical when I set my goals and take a step-by-step approach. For example, instead of making a massive to-do list for an entire week, I focus on what I can accomplish during the day, so I don't feel guilty about not achieving everything.

Secondly, my approach to goal-setting is to be flexible. I try to adapt to changes that may happen, and I don't beat myself up if something doesn't go according to plan. Life is unexpected, and for that reason, I prioritize tasks that easily adapt to change so that I can keep things moving, even when the unexpected occurs.

Thirdly, I have found that communication is key when it comes to setting realistic goals. I talk to my family, spouse, and boss frequently to ensure they are aware of my limitations, and I also listen to their concerns. Being able to communicate my needs has helped alleviate some guilt as my family and colleagues respect my boundaries and are more understanding.

Lastly, I try to set time for myself. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of work and parenting, but taking time to focus on yourself is important. I focus on activities I enjoy, like reading or taking walks, or trying new hobbies to help clear my mind and reduce stress.

I hope these suggestions help you. Remember that you are doing your best, and it is okay to not have it all figured out. Focus on what you can achieve today, and remember the little wins count.



I can completely understand where you are coming from. As a parent and an employee, it can be tough to set achievable goals and manage expectations without feeling overwhelmed. Setting aside the guilt that comes with not accomplishing everything on our to-do list is an essential step towards a balanced life, in my opinion.

My approach to goal-setting focuses more on prioritizing tasks based on urgency, rather than importance. I take into account the tasks that will have a significant impact on my work or family, such as meetings or appointments, and prioritize them. The rest of the tasks can be assigned to other members of my team or accomplished at a later time.

Secondly, I maintain a routine for my home life and work-life so that I can set a clear boundary between the two. I often find myself working longer hours than my colleagues or staying up late to catch up on unfinished work. To avoid this, I set a specific work schedule and stick to it as closely as possible, which allows me to have a clear-cut time for both work and family.

Third, I try to be productive during the time allotted for work, and when it is time for family and relaxation, I shut off all work-related communications. This approach helped me with the feeling of always being on and allowed me to focus on spending quality time with my family without the guilt of leaving work related tasks incomplete.

In conclusion, my approach to setting goals and managing expectations is based on realistic assessment of what needs to be done, both for work and family. Remember to be kind to yourself, taking breaks when needed, and always celebrate the small achievements.


Hi there,

I can totally understand the pressure that comes with juggling being a parent and a full-time employee or student. One way I manage my expectations is by having a set schedule for both work and family time. I try to stick to a routine as best as possible, so I don't fall behind on either side.

Regarding setting goals, I like to give myself a deadline for completing every task. I break down larger tasks into smaller ones and try to accomplish one thing at a time. It helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed, and the frequent completion of smaller tasks gives me a sense of achievement that keeps me motivated.

One thing I've learned is that You can't do everything, so it's best to be realistic about what you can achieve. As a result, I try to focus on the most critical or urgent things on my to-do list, and the others come after. Pushing myself to complete everything on my plate is not practical and can quickly lead to burnout.

Lastly, self-care is important, and I try to set aside time for myself every day. A few minutes of meditation or exercise, some alone time to read my favorite book, or just having a relaxing shower after a long day is vital. Doing things that make me happy boosts my mood and helps me avoid feeling guilty about my inability to meet everyone's needs.

In conclusion, setting realistic goals, creating a routine, and prioritizing tasks are how I manage my expectations effectively. Remember, perfection is not achievable, so it's okay to give yourself grace and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they are.


Hi there,

I can definitely relate to your situation. As a working mom, I struggled with setting realistic goals for myself without feeling guilty for not being able to accomplish them all. The first thing that helped me was to prioritize and make a to-do list. I would list down everything that I wanted or needed to accomplish for the day or week and then rank them in order of importance. By doing this, I was able to focus on the most critical tasks first and not feel guilty about not getting to the lower priority items.

Secondly, I tried to be realistic about what I could accomplish in a day or week. I would remind myself that I could not do it all and that it was okay to not be able to accomplish everything. By setting realistic goals, you are less likely to feel guilty or overwhelmed.

Additionally, I found that communicating with my boss and family about my schedule and limitations helped me manage my expectations. By letting my boss know about my time constraints, she was able to adjust my workload accordingly, which reduced my stress level. For my family, I would communicate when I had work deadlines or needed time to catch up on work, so they knew not to expect me to be available during those times.

Finally, I made sure to take care of myself. Self-care is crucial, especially when you are trying to manage multiple responsibilities. I would make sure I had time to exercise, relax, or even just decompress. By taking care of myself, I was better able to manage my stress and accomplish my goals.

I hope these tips help you. Remember, you are doing the best you can, and that is all that counts!

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