Life Insurance
Accidental Death
Insurance 101
Live Chat
Sign In
Apply Now
Work, Life, Balanced

6 Amazing Ways to Achieve Real (Work) Life Balance

By Allison Kade Jun 25, 2019

In this article

1. Leave Work at Work (Really, Though)

2. Preplan Family Time to Achieve Work-Life Balance

3. Align Your Expectations

4. Find a Middle Path for Children and Technology

5. Let Your Kids Make Their Own Decisions

6. Practice Moderation in Conversation

Aristotle liked to talk about “the golden mean,” and whether or not you’re a Greek philosopher, it’s vital: Everything is best in moderation.

Too much of a slacker? You can’t support your family. Too much of a workaholic? You won’t have the time and energy to enjoy your family.

One person who embodies this ethic is Joanna Parker, co-founder of Yumble, a kids’ meal delivery service that was featured on Shark Tank.

She spoke to us about how she tries to find that golden mean in just about everything she does, from work-life balance to her approach to technology and discipline. Here are the top tips she lives by.

1. Leave Work at Work (Really, Though)

It’s all well and good to talk about wanting work-life balance when you’re a hard-working mom, but it actually takes a lot of discipline, Parker says.

“When my husband and I decided to work together, our biggest hurdle was to make sure our company didn’t consume our home,” Parker says. Their jobs still enter the home, she says, but she and her husband always aim to finish hashing out their day before they get inside.

“We commute together, so we usually spend the majority of our drive recapping our day. But we won’t pull into the driveway or garage until we’ve summed everything up and put a bow on it.”

When they click the garage opener and their kids come through the door, she says, they’re back in Mom and Dad Mode. “Some nights, we’ll sit on our street finishing our conversation, even if it takes an extra five to ten minutes to get inside the house,” she says. “But we think it’s worth it so we’re not distracted when we get inside.”

2. Preplan Family Time to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Parker sets aside specific times when she can give her kids her undivided focus. “My mornings are to be a mother,” she says. She checks her email before she comes down in the morning, around 5 or 5:30 am, and doesn’t look at her phone again until she’s dropped her kids at school at 8:30.

The Parker family also takes its weekends very seriously. “David and I do need to work on Sundays, but from the time we get home on Friday all the way through Saturday, we have a 24-hour period with no phones or computers,” she says. They spend their time doing non-electronic games with their kids, like puzzles, board games and coloring. “That makes our conversation just feel different,” she says, “and we can really focus on each other.”

Their choice of Friday and Saturday originates in the tradition of Shabbat, but Parker believes that everyone would benefit from a day or two when they can truly unplug. “It’s a relief to go off the radar for a little while,” she says. “My teammates know they can’t get in touch with me for just one day, so if there’s an emergency they’ll find someone else. It’s a gift every week.”

(Want some inspiration? These are the cities with the best work-life balance.)

3. Align Your Expectations

For kids whose parents work long hours, one of the most challenging things is knowing what to expect. “My kids aren’t upset if I don’t get home one night till after they’re asleep,” Parker says, “if they know it in advance.”

One key way she tries to maintain peace at home and work is to set her children’s expectations clearly, every morning. Each day, before she leaves, she tells her children when she will return home, and whether that will be in time to say goodnight—or if she’ll sadly end up missing bedtime. They’re OK with it, she says, as long as they know what’s coming.

4. Find a Middle Path for Children and Technology

Children and technology is a very complicated and personal decision for parents, from internet safety for kids to phone addiction. This is something each family needs to figure out for itself.

That said, Parker shares her “golden mean” approach to this, too: “I’m a strong believer that if you take something away from kids 100 percent, it’ll create an unhealthy relationship with that object. Of course, 100 percent indulgence will also create a bad relationship. I’m all about cultivating healthy relationships with money, people, objects, food.”

Following through on that philosophy, Parker closely watches her kids’ technology usage, but doesn’t withhold tech entirely. “We do watch family movies and talk about interesting things, which I like. Other than that, my kids are really into their iPads.” They each get about a half hour of iPad time each night. Parker sets a timer and they can choose from programs that she and her husband have pre-approved.

Her son likes Fortnite, so he’ll sometimes ask if he can skip one night’s iPad time and trade it in for an extra 30 minutes on a different day. “I will allow him to do that up to a certain extent,” Parker says, “because I like the self management. It teaches him maturity, I think—planning and budgeting, essentially.”

She has mixed feelings about the video game, but she doesn’t want to withhold it entirely. “Fortnite, I think, is another example of moderation. He’s learning a lot of strategy from it, and obviously we keep an eye on any of the violence.”

5. Let Your Kids Make Their Own Decisions

She takes this middle-of-the-road approach to personal finance, as well. Each of her kids has a piggy bank, and she doesn’t require that they save all their money forever. Nor does she push them to spend it on anything in particular. “If they want to spend their money, they can spend it. If they’re in getting something bigger, they can hang onto their money and save up.”

Her Fortnite-loving son used to ask for in-game cash for Fortnight (V-Bucks), she says, “but he knows I will not spend my own money on it anymore. If he wants V-Bucks, he knows he must shell out his own money. That’s teaching him he has to pick and choose what he wants.”

6. Practice Moderation in Conversation

When it comes to choosing things to talk—and chastise—about, Parker also tries to find a balance. “My son has a struggle to stay seated in school, so I try hard to think about how many days a week the first thing I say to him when I see him is, ‘How did you do in school?’ as opposed to something unrelated,” she says. “I don’t want him to think our relationship is only about me checking up on him.”

When Parker’s son has a bad day, she tries to say, “OK, let’s not dwell. Can we talk for a minute about why you thought it was challenging? Maybe you’re just cranky? That happens to grownups, too.” She tries not to indulge in obsessing or overanalyzing and instead try to say, “Onto the next.”

As a former schoolteacher, Parker always tries to remember that children are just smaller people. “They have good days and bad days. Some days they want to eat something, and sometimes they don’t. We don’t need to get frantic. Roll with it. They’re just like us.”

In everything, Parker tries to take a wide-ranging perspective. “In all things, a more balanced reaction will make everything less dramatic, less stressful and easier.”

Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Fabric Insurance Agency, LLC offers a mobile experience for people on the go who want an easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Written by

Allison Kade

Related Posts

Work, Life, Balanced

How Spending 13 Minutes a Day on Self-Care Changed My Life

I created the Mental Health and Wealth Challenge to engage in self-care that was meaningful, simple, and free — and only takes 13 minutes a day.

By Melanie Lockert
Work, Life, Balanced

Can You Afford to Become a Stay-at-Home Parent? How to Find Out

Working vs. being a stay-at-home parent is a major decision. We’ve created a framework to provide financial clarity about your best options.

By Julie Pierce Onos
Work, Life, Balanced

How to Make Mundane Moments With Your Kids Feel Actually Special

We asked experts for ways to savor even the mundane time with family—whether or not we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

By Sarah Li Cain

Fabric Picks

Life Insurance

6 Types of Debt You Might Leave Behind When You Die (and How Life Insurance Can Help)

Most debts don’t disappear when you die. Here’s what happens to debts you leave unpaid and how to protect your family’s assets.

By Emily Smith
Life Insurance

Why Getting Life Insurance Is a Smart New Year’s Resolution

A new year is a fresh slate and a great time to build security into your family’s finances with an affordable life insurance policy.

By Emily Smith
Wills & Estate Planning

One Action That Makes Life Insurance and Estate Planning so Much Easier

Creating an “in case of death” doc can save loved ones time, frustration and maybe even money. Here’s how to do it right.

By Lynn Shattuck

About Fabric




Download Fabric’s iOS mobile app through the Apple App Store
Download Fabric’s android mobile app through the Google Play app store
Subscribe to our newsletter

© 2022 Fabric Insurance Agency, LLC

Accidental Death Insurance policies (Form VL-ADH1 with state variations where applicable) and Term Life Insurance policies (Form ICC16-VLT, ICC19-VLT2, and CMP 0501 with state variations where applicable) are issued by Vantis Life Insurance Company (Vantis Life), Windsor, CT (all states except NY), and by The Penn Insurance and Annuity Company of New York (NY only). Coverage may not be available in all states. Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of Vantis Life.

All sample pricing is based on a 25-year old F in Excellent health for the coverage amount shown. All samples are for a 10-year term policy, unless otherwise stated. Term Life Insurance policies (Form ICC16-VLT, ICC19-VLT2, and CMP 0501 with state variations where applicable) are issued by Vantis Life Insurance Company (Vantis Life), Windsor, CT. Coverage may not be available in all states. Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of Vantis Life.

Fabric Insurance Agency, LLC (FIA) is an insurance agency licensed to sell life and accident insurance products. FIA will receive compensation from Vantis Life for such sales. The NAIC Company Code for Vantis Life is 68632. See the Terms of Use for additional information regarding FIA.

A.M. Best uses letter grades ranging from A++, the highest, to F, companies in liquidation. Vantis Life’s A+ (Superior) rating, which was reaffirmed in April 2020, ranks the second highest out of 16 rankings. An insurer’s financial strength rating represents an opinion by the issuing agency regarding the ability of an insurance company to meet its financial obligations to its policyholders and contract holders and not a statement of fact or recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any security, policy or contract. These ratings do not imply approval of our products and do not reflect any indication of their performance. For more information about a particular rating or rating agency, please visit the website of the relevant agency.

Plan like a parent. is a trademark of Fabric Technologies, Inc.