How do we balance work and family life?

November 8, 2018 5:00 PM
By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

Gary FullerThe best example of work life balance I've seen was when I was working in Further Education. A colleague of mine worked part-time as a lecturer whilst his partner worked part-time in a primary school. I believe she was the deputy head. They shared parental responsibilities, led active lives and had their own small-holding.

They both had reasonably well-paid jobs, they owned their own home and (I assume) they made some compromises to make living on what equated to a single income affordable. I'm sure, as with many of my colleagues at that time, they took work home. But working part-time probably allowed them to keep their workloads manageable.

The circumstances I describe above simply aren't feasible for many families. The income for the average job role isn't enough for families to live on a single income, and housing costs are becoming an ever more significant part of our expenditure. Raising a family and all the work that goes into it, isn't something we're paid to do.

Raising a family is a significant investment in our society's future, yet the concept of having children "you can't afford" is vilified, and most people who can afford to have them can't afford to spend time with them. Meanwhile we gut the education system that could mould those children into productive members of society.

The answer to the core question here is simple. To balance work and family life, we really have two options. The first option is we accept that we won't be able to go on holidays, visit attractions and buy expensive things for our families. The second option is we change the rules. We reapportion wealth through progressive taxation or income regulation. I personally favour the latter option as I've already experienced the former, both as a son and parent.