Mommy`s Grounded

Canadian parents off-kilter when it comes to finding work-life balance

By Bianca Bujan

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

People presume that because I’ve abandoned a nine-to-five corporate career to work for myself, I’ve obtained the unobtainable: the highly coveted work-life balance that most parents crave.

The truth is though, while I’ve certainly gained flexibility time-wise, being self-employed is in no way a time saver. My work life and my family life are constantly in cahoots as I try to keep up with my triad of to-do lists while striving to be present for my kids.

When I’m at work, my kids are on my mind, and when I’m with my children, my thoughts are filled with task lists that are begging for my attention. I’m able to drop my kids off at school and pick them up on most days but am often up until midnight catching up on work.

Whether you’re a full-time in-office parent, or one who works from home, juggling a career with children can be overwhelming - the fantasy of a balanced life nothing more than an intangible dream.

So if there are so many parents stuck in the paradigm of the unbalanced parent, what is it that’s causing us to live such an off-kilter life? Well apparently being Canadian has a lot to do with it.

According to a recent study conducted by Expert Market - a UK-based business-to-business comparison site, Canadian parents are the fourth worst in the world when it comes to achieving work-life balance.

In analyzing parents in countries across the world, Expert Market took an in-depth look at some key factors, including average annual hours worked by parents, the number of paid work days allowable by law, and total paid leave days for both mothers and fathers, comparing data collected from 37 different countries.

The results revealed Finland as the top country for parents who are able to achieve a work-life balance, scoring high marks for their commendably high paid annual leave allowances. Estonia ranked at a close second with paid leave for new mothers set at an impressive 85 weeks (with full pay).

The United States scored the worst rating, landing on the bottom of the list due to a lack of statutory paid leave for mothers or fathers.

As for us working parents in Canada? We don’t trail too far behind our neighbouring nation. Sitting in the fourth-worst spot on the list, Canada ranks low for work-life balance, with less-than-impressive rankings in the categories studied.

Hopefully, our country will recognize the benefits of making the workforce more family-friendly, because if we don’t make balance more attainable for the hardworking parents of Canada, there’s going to be a widespread burnout.


Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram. Comments: