More companies are recognizing the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance — especially when their employees are parents. While professional mentors are essential to career development, a parent-employee resource group can be a great way to learn and share experiences with your fellow working parents.

Returning to work after parental leave brings new challenges, from finding child care and pumping milk to dealing with the mixed emotions that go along with ending your time as a stay-at-home mom or dad. But it's easier to celebrate the wonderful parts of parenting and gloss over the tougher aspects, especially at work.

Being part of an employee resource group can help you ease into becoming a working parent and find support from coworkers who've experienced the same issues and joys.

Why Support From Other Working Parents Is Crucial

Employers are starting to recognize the need to provide parents with support and flexibility. But while parental leave, lactation rooms, and on-site or backup child care are significant benefits that employers can offer, they don't address all the career issues working parents often face. What do you do when you're on deadline and you have to pick up a sick child? How do you get your work done and make your kid's weekly 3 p.m. sports events? What if you can't get to the office because your child or spouse needs you at home?

It turns out that some of the best resources are other parents who've been through it, survived, thrived, and are willing to help. It can be invaluable to get advice and support from experienced working parents as you navigate new issues, like getting everyone out of the house on time, handling time off for family illness, and making sure you're meeting your boss's and co-workers' expectations.

Collaborating with other working parents can also help you navigate your career as a parent, learn about new opportunities, and realize that no matter what catastrophe you're dealing with today, someone else has an even messier and more hilarious story that will make you feel less alone.

Parents Are Key: Key's Forward Thinking Approach to Help Working Parents

Key has launched a parent and caregiver employee resource group called Parents Are Key. It's one of a dozen Key Business Impact and Networking Groups that offer employees opportunities to connect with others like them, share information and ideas, and find understanding and guidance.

Parents Are Key is designed for parents, caregivers, parents to be, and all interested employees at any stage of their career and family life to help each other through workplace issues — such as taking leave, managing benefits, juggling obligations, and navigating their career path. All employees are welcome to join the resource group, which also provides opportunities to share parenting and caregiving experiences and to learn from others. Parents Are Key is an invaluable resource to help you manage the unique challenges working parents and caregivers face.

Key also enhanced its mentorship program, MentorMe@Key, with new features that let employees filter for potential mentors who are working parents. You can discuss any concerns you have with your mentor and receive individual guidance on navigating your Key career.

Key recognizes that parenting and caregiving is an important part of employees' lives and is committed to helping working parents and caregivers succeed at Key. Key encourages employees to participate in Key's mentorship program and Business Impact and Networking Groups to achieve their goals and objectives.

Key is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.