Rush hour of life: juggling family and career

Just when your career is picking up speed, family planning is also on the agenda – and at the same time, other dreams are waiting to be fulfilled. Travel? Further education? A home of your own? The “Rush Hour Of Life” describes precisely this stage of life when we want everything. And our lives are running at full speed.

We are entering our professions later and later, launching our careers – we also want to take our time to find exactly the job that suits us and our values. We strive for a higher level of education, which in turn leads to longer apprenticeships. As a result, just when we are climbing the career ladder after graduations, internships and stays abroad, the topic of family planning also becomes relevant. Career advancement and starting a family increasingly have to be reconciled at the same time and in an ever shorter period of time.

The life phase of many big decisions

On average, we have five to seven years to make our big decisions about family and career. Biology is also to blame: after all, family planning cannot be postponed indefinitely. Over 70% of all mothers who gave birth to a child in Switzerland in 2020 were over 30 years of age. Fathers, too, are more mature, at between 30 and 39 for most births, every fifth father is over 40. But it’s also precisely during this period that our careers take off. Then there are all the other life dreams that we want to realize: a trip around the world, our own apartment or house in the country, further education… Life is running at full speed. Important life decisions have to be made – from choosing a partner, living arrangements and starting a family to career moves and job changes. The “rush hour of life”, a term originally from family research, describes and defines this phase in which everything happens at once.

The rush hour – also in the family cycle

Generally speaking, the “rush hour of life” can be divided into two different phenomena: 

  • the “rush hour of life decisions”
  • the “rush hour in the family cycle”

In addition to the phenomenon that many late entrants to the labour market have to make the biggest decisions of their life as well as plan their family and career, there is also a phenomenon that occurs regardless of the time of entry into the labour market: Those who have small children are particularly burdened by family work and their professional life. The pressure to be present in all areas of life with equal intensity is enormous – and in addition to childcare and work, there is also household management. Women living with a partner and caring for at least one child under the age of six spend about 56.7 hours per week on work related to the family and household. Depending on their degree of occupation, the amount of work varies from 49.9 hours (when working 90–100%) to 96.5 hours (without a career). Fathers also do a lot of work in the family as well as in the household: on average, they spend 35.6 hours per week in a household with a partner and a child under six. 

Double rush hour for families?

When exactly the “rush hour of life” kicks into full gear varies. It usually refers to the period between the ages of 25 and 45, when everything happens at once. Especially between the ages of 27 and 35, important decisions have to be made. In the case of the “rush hour in the family cycle”, the age of the children is particularly decisive: those who look after children under the age of six experience a particularly intensive “rush hour”. And finally, the two phenomena can also overlap – because those who have children also face many decisions and tasks.

Want everything – but also have to do everything?

The “rush hour of life” or life decisions does not only concern people who want children. Decisions revolve around the choice of a partner, the establishment of a joint household, at best also marriage, career and dreams of very different kinds. Often there is also the task of looking after parents or other family members. It is important to spend a lot of time with the family, but at the same time to be present at work. Finding a career that makes sense – but also pays enough to afford childcare or a home. Being there for ageing parents, partner, children and friends and not losing sight of your own needs. Quite a challenge, isn’t it?

Negotiations and individual solutions are needed

The pressure of having to master everything at once affects men and women alike. The “rush hour of life” is an exciting, intense phase, but also one in which one is confronted with a lot of demands. Negotiations within the partnership are required – but also open communication and equality. A very individual family model can and should be found today. At work too, there are opportunities to build a career that suits one’s own life and priorities. And last but not least, it is important, especially in the “rush hour of life”, to take care of oneself and one’s own health, interests and values – and not to lose sight of what is important while living life in the fast lane.

Awina not only helps to find some relief in the family budget during the “rush hour of life decisions” and the “rush hour in the family cycle”. With the uncomplicated financing of crèche places, it also helps parents to continue to pursue their careers and find the family model that suits them.