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How To Balance Being a Pilot and a Parent

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Trying to balance work with a home life that includes parenting can be difficult. When your office is 30,000 feet in the air, there are many new challenges to overcome. Pilots often struggle to not only be a parent but also to maintain and even further their careers.

On the Road Again
One of the biggest challenges facing pilots that are parents is scheduling. Being a pilot is by no means a typical 9 to 5 job. There can be stretches when you are gone for days at a time. Conversely, there are periods when you may be home for several days consecutively.

This variable schedule becomes even more difficult when you try to balance it against your kid's and your co-parent's schedule. When one parent is away for several days at a time, the other parent does most of the parenting work.

It is an all too common phenomenon that when pilots come back from a trip, they feel as if their co-parent is dumping the kids on them and saying, "here you go." While this is an understandable feeling, both parents need to work hard to make each other feel understood and fulfilled.

These times are when communication between parents is so vital. Parents should map out schedules carefully, so parenting responsibilities get equally shared. There also needs to be time budgeted to cultivate the relationship between the parents.

Creating a Fulfilling Life for Everyone When Everyone Is Home
The transitions from being on the road to being home for a pilot can often be tricky. These transitions are also potentially problematic for the rest of the family. Parents must take great care and effort to ensure that time home together is not only about solving problems.

When families reconnect, the first discussions should not be about how to get pee out of a mattress or if the trash got taken out. Both parents need to strive to make sure the first part of any return is fulfilling and loving for all family members.

This transition can be difficult when all family members have busy schedules. Because of that, it is essential to find the first time available when everyone can reconnect and spend quality time as a family. So maybe that is a family dinner the first night everyone is back together. It could also be a trip to somewhere everybody in the family likes to go.

The most important thing is not to let this available time pass by without effort. When work and life schedules are busy, it is easy for parents to get complacent. When one parent works at a job that keeps them away for several days at a time, getting complacent is not an option.

Quality Over Quantity
Even though being a pilot is somewhat unusual, the demands of parenting remain the same for all parents, no matter what job they have. The family dynamic may mean that both parents work, or there is a single parent, or that one parent works while the other stays home. No matter the situation, quality time together as a family is of the utmost importance.

Pilots, by nature, tend to be very detail-oriented and meticulous. They are constantly juggling schedules, solving problems that arise, and are continuously checking and rechecking items to make sure things are working correctly. Pilots often take this meticulous nature and apply it to their family life.

If parents know they only have a certain amount of time to spend together as a family, they make sure they spend that time well. They strive to make sure they do engaging and creative things together as a family. They do not let times like these pass by sitting on the couch idly staring at some form of technology.

Being a pilot takes a tremendous amount of education, dedication, and commitment. It is funny that most people would say exactly the same thing about being a parent. When pilots who are parents approach both disciplines with the same zeal and vigor, their entire life and the lives of their family members are that much better.

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