- Do you love your children?
- Do / Did you love your work?
- Do you find it hard to balance the two?
- Would you be relieved to find a way to do the work you love AND be a hands-on parent?
- Would you be thrilled to know that your work still means something?
- How would it feel to enjoy time with your children, instead of secretly thinking about work?
It is possible! Yes, it is! With some focus and discipline, you can do it! I know, because I have! Here I share how you can make a start.
I don’t work because I do what I love. Yes, I do what I love. Work? I love it! Always have. Employed for nearly 20 years before kids, now I have my own business. My work excites me; helps me feel valuable; I’ve always been contributing to something far bigger than me, and I LOVE it!
Now; parenthood is another ball-game altogether.
Which makes balancing work and parenthood rather tricky.
To me, being a parent is much harder work than running my business. I don’t feel a natural, slowing things down to child-pace is tough; finding enough patience to empower my children towards independence can be frustrating; losing my temper, snapping and shouting makes me feel weak (paradoxically) and a “bad” parent. So, why did I end up as a “stay-at-home-mum” whilst my children were younger?
In this article I will share 3 key points to help you take steps to balancing work and parenthood.
1) What are your family values and beliefs?
If you don’t know what you are aiming for, how will you ever know that you are being successful? If you never feel successful, what will you feel?
Q. How will feeling like that help you?
A. It won’t!
So, take some time to discuss this with your husband, wife or partner. You can make this as simple or as complex as you want. Start off by asking yourself
“What is important to me?”
and brainstorm a list of everything that comes to mind. Then do the same with “What is important to us?” and “What is important to the family.”
Once you have your list, review it – the things you have written are essentially your values.
Then, when you have to make decisions, or take actions (however great or small) you can just check in with your list of values, “Is this in-line with mine / our values?”
A friend of mine once said about having children, “You don’t go on holiday anymore, you just go on trips.” Whilst he was lamenting the times where he and his wife used to relax on holiday, being spontaneous and having peace and quiet, actually, if he had planned his “trips” with a different approach he would have found he could still have a “holiday.”
Try planning your days being clear that what you are doing fits in with your values. Even better, go “bigger picture” – decide what your vision is for your family. If you want a relaxed, happy family life, how will fitting in 18 errands after school pick-up and creating a 3 course meal every night contribute to that? If you want children to grow up to be independent, stop doing so much for them, and help them do things for themselves!
Remember to review and if something isn’t working, just try a different plan. At different stages of life, different plans are needed. So, keep what works and change what doesn’t.
3) Be in the moment
This is probably the hardest thing of all, but choose mindfully. If you are doing work, give yourself fully to work. If you are with the children, give yourself fully to being with them. Sometimes that means ignoring the ‘phone and often the mobile, especially if you use it for work. And, for those of you who are in a relationship, being in the moment with your spouse or partner can be such a powerful thing that it can change your whole life and you find balancing everything much easier because you are truly sharing it with your special someone.
So, you can balance work and parenthood. Give these three things a go and notice the changes that happen. Small steps can be just as significant as large ones, and often are a stronger foundation.