It’s your paycheck that pays for the care of your family. If you didn’t work the hours that you do, weekend and so on, life just wouldn’t be possible. You work hard to provide for your family entirely admirable. For years I thought the same thing.
If you’re so busy, you have no time for your family what the hell kind of life is that? It’s not a life because someday when your son or daughter is grown up you will be regretting the time lost. You can cloud this up all you want but the day will come. So let’s figure out how to manage work and life balance.
The first big hurdle to cross is the boss that says “sure you can go watch your kids’ ball game just pack this box with all your shit.” I actually have had several bosses who played that card. This I will admit is a tight position to find yourself in.
An even tougher thought to ponder is to say you do succeed, but you’ve missed every first thing, birthdays, and life events with your children. How do you ever get that back? You don’t! A very perplexing situation to find oneself.
We all want to get ahead in life, we want to give our family more than what we had. The problem is the cost. What are we willing to pay. From experience, I paid a lot. More than I should have because I missed a great many things. My son ounce sent me a picture of a child chasing a Dad, the bottom photo was the Dad chasing the child. Sad!
One damn sure thing you can never do; buy your child’s happiness or love. What you can provide is you! So how to find the balance?
Begin by making sure you make time every day if possible that you leave your phone, emails, and laptops. Allow yourself to be totally present in a moment with your child. Don’t answer the phone and say Daddy or Mommy has to take this. Don’t dismiss your child as you would a co-worker.
Finding balance requires you to be completely present at the moment. You want to sell yourself that a client can’t wait an hour to hear from you (I get time-sensitive jobs, but you need to find a time when the market is closed, see my point). Spending uninterrupted time with your children, time with them while you are on the phone is NO GOOD! Block out time that is the children’s time!
Some will say this is a nieve look at job vs. family. That it’s your job that pays for your families life. If you asked one adult child, who’s parents gave them an incredible home, everything they could ever want. If you asked that child what if anything could you change, all would tell you more time with the parent that was absent. You can’t buy a family or love.
Make real-time for kids to experience what you have to offer. Maybe you can’t be there all the time, but be present in the moment. Don’t miss firsts or birthdays! You can never get them back; I don’t care how many birthday ponies you give. Turn off phones and be with your kids! You won’t regret you did, ever!
Knowing today what I do with respect to my career, wow is their so many changes I would have made well before now. This article I hope speaks to young men and women early on in their careers. Working twelve, fourteen or longer hour days. Work, work, work, work, work!
Jerk bosses will tell you to put in the hours to get ahead, while their ass is at home with family. Or out having a life. Sure, does have to be paid but don’t get lost in a Myer of work = money = life. What good is money if you don’t have a life? The million-dollar question: Life-Work – Balance.
Background for me early on. Working in automotive retail eight AM to nine + PM six days per week. Don’t even think about a day off or vacation. My sons first basketball game I was literally thrown a box on my desk told to pack my shit and go to the game. Or get my ass back to work! What do you do? Retail is a brutal industry, that is very unforgiving.
The incident I had with a boss with my sons first game was just the tip of the iceberg throughout my automotive career that has spanned thirty-five years. I lost a lot of firsts, family milestones, a life, and burned through a couple of marriages quickly. Damaged my relationship with my kids and the list goes on.
It was only too easy to fall into the trap of work, work, work. My argument with my family is “if I don’t work you don’t have a life.” Looking back at how shortsighted that statement really is. What a stupid move. Sure, every man does what he has to in order to provide for his family. Looking back my family was more interested in having me than the money. My dumb ass chose the money.
One thing I have come to learn in my life is you have choices even when you think you don’t. What I mean by this. Don’t forget to have a life while you’re providing for your life. Easier said than done, pardon all the cliches in this paragraph.
Here is my challenge to leaders in organizations. Let’s say that I am a member of your management team. I want to go see my kid play whatever. If you’re the ass hole that says no. My question would be your such a shitty manager that one person off your floor is going to destroy your day. What you’re telling me if I was the owner of this business. If we let one person off for a few hours, my business is going to stop?
The person asking off has such an impact on my business that he can’t be gone for a few hours? This is what you’re telling me? We’re going to screw up the head of one of our best players who must tell his child he can’t do this or that because he has to be at work. As a leader, you should have depth in your bench to move players around, so my business does not suffer. What do we do on sick days? Shut down because XYZ employee is not at work???
Companies are running sales teams, for example; if you can’t be short a guy or two and still not run at peak performance, I am going to look at my leaders and say you may not be the right fit. My teams can operate fully staffed or short-handed period.
Not allowing an employee a few hours now and again to enjoy family events that if allowed will bring back to me a better person. Parents who are proud, not stressed about not being there. How much more am I going to get out of someone who is happy than sad? If you can’t figure that out, you’re too stupid to work for me. Business can be hard, let’s not make it harder because of short-sightedness.
Most of this must be a leadership change. A culture change that hardliners are going to buck. Leaders must be able to move players around, fill holes, adapt. This is what makes a great coach; he does not focus 100% of his attention on his starters, he has a bench so he can adapt to change at the speed of business.
This has been what leaders should do. What can you do if the corporate culture you work in is unforgiving? If you find yourself in a job that it’s a brick wall when it comes to time off for life events.
Here are some not the most ideal way but a way:
Take a vacation day. You don’t necessarily have to say why just ask for a vacation day in advance of your family event.
See if you can get someone to cover your shift. Another parent is always a good person to ask. Trade shifts with a coworker.
If the business you work in is simply inflexible, it may be time to consider a different company. Jobs come and go but time with your family cannot be replaced. Believe me; I pay the price for that every day. Do over; I would have taken a different path.
It’s nauseating to me when I hear so-called Guru’s say you must pay an ultimate price for success. That the only path to success is at the expense of your life. If you’re chasing that Unicorn, it takes years to achieve real success and wealth. Just as you plan your career path, you need to do the exact same for your family and children.
Birthdays you can’t get back.
First Recital you can’t get back.
First Football game you can’t get
The first day at school you can’t get back.
Don’t fall into the trap of justification. You cannot justify to a child why you missed so much of their lives; they simply don’t care about your excuse. What they want is you not an excuse. After thirty-six years in business, I can tell you NOTHING was ever worth missing my family milestones. Don’t pay the same price, so many of us pay every day.
Jobs are a touchy thing for obvious reasons. Your life is also important. Think about this are you living to work or working to live? With proper time management and a little creativity with coworkers, you can find a work life, home life, balance!
At the time I wrote this I was fifty-six years old. The biggest regret I have is not taking time for my life and putting work before everything else. All the times that I stayed at work when I should have been living my life. I’m in NO way better off because I did, quite the reverse. Don’t think that money will make up for lost time it does not. Don’t think your kids are better off because you have money, ask them and I can promise you they want YOU not your money.
Don’t get me wrong we all need a job to take care of our families. Just don’t lose your family trying to take care of your family.
At heart I think we’re all a bit spoiled to want instant gratification, we want it now! For me, this is a struggle. When we think about the plan for our life waiting for things to unfold as they should is a struggle for most of us, to accept.
Frustration could not be more pronounced in my life today. I want everything to change right now. Imposing my will only slow down what God can do for me. Do you find yourself battling your head? I do! Just about every day, it seems to hit me the frustration of waiting.
Finding a way to quiet the old noodle is a problem that I want to change NOW. Something I can do right now that is not imposing upon the universe is evolving negative parts of my life to positive outcomes. So I move this situation to prayer. Will, it honestly works faster maybe or maybe not?
What Patience Looks Like
That is the real challenge of faith. Just being able to relax and say okay God I’m with you, so let’s see where you’re taking me today. Bang! I don’t want to wait. I end up having to remember all the beautiful things that have happened to me in God’s good time.
Okay, so ego says you can do this, jump in, we got this. God will unveil to us our destiny if we choose to let him. Keeping busy helps me relax my head enough to slow down and relax, here are a few things I do:
Take a walk; I call it my prayer walk. Talking to God, sharing everything that I can.
Write as I am now. Do you have something like this you can do?
Do you have a home project that needs doing?
Work out, play with kids, do something busy.
If you keep your head busy, then the enemy can’t sneak in and muddle your brain. It’s also hard to find whether your thoughts are with God or being directed by you. Always ask in prayer for guidance. Happened to me the other day I started down the path and realized that I was going the wrong way.
Subsequently, I was able to let God know that my choice was not a good one, and moved back onto the right path. It was pretty cool to see that I can make a mistake. That God’s not going to punish me for mistakes that I might make. It’s like I’m a bowling ball that God is the bumpers that keep me going down the lane.
We all need the patience to allow the beauty of our lives to reveal itself in good time. When we force the issue that can delay our journey with unnecessary frustrations. I get it! It’s tough for most of us. I’m certainly not suggesting you sit on your backside and do nothing but don’t force an issue. When you meditate on this, you will gain clarity.
Slow down, pray about it and do what you should every day to keep life moving. When you think about a thing enough, you in your heart know what the right thing is and what is the wrong something. Do the right thing!
Grateful. If anything in this life can make it better, being grateful is number one. If you can’t be thankful for what you have, then sadly you may be stuck.
Let me give you a prime example. Finances could not be worse. Relationships are in the toilet, you’re about to lose everything. I mean everything. Life looks hopeless. Every turn is some new problem, nothing is getting better. What do you have to be grateful for if life seems like it’s flushing you down the toilet?
• Health, if reasonably healthy then indeed you are blessed. If you don’t believe that tell it to someone that has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ask them if health is not everything.
• The ability to work. If you can stand upright, you have a body that functions you can accomplish. This is something to be grateful for.
• Children healthy? That is a real gift.
• Supportive spouse. A right partner is a beautiful blessing.
• A car that runs to get you to work. A bus that is close to getting you to work.
If you look closely enough, we all have things to put the gratitude in our hearts. Without it, you will stifle your growth. With it, God will enrich your life. I see it every day in my own life. When I live in gratitude, things happen for me out of the blue. A small break here, a significant break there. At the end of the day, I feel stronger. The trials in my life may still be there, but every day, I take a bite out of them.
The key is to be grateful for even the smallest blessing. How can God bless your life if you don’t thank him for yet the most minor benefit? It’s still a blessing. I received $16 in cash from the post office for a PO box I had. I owe thousands of dollars I could have looked at this a couple of ways. I chose to be excited it was something I was not expecting, out of the blue favor from God.
Today if God saw fit to bless me with a penny, I would be just as excited if he saw fit to bestow me with a thousand dollars. Be grateful for the smallest things, then God can bless you with the big stuff. It has to be genuine, though. Don’t be smarty pants and say, “Oh look a penny.” Be seeded in faith and gratitude.
This is an area that I struggle as well. Everything you read from successful people is grateful for what you have. Look around you. We all have things to be thankful for. Blessings come disguised as a smile from a complete stranger, someone allows you in front of them, you can breathe, your health, I could list hundreds more.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in a whirlwind of garbage to the point you forget to be grateful. Blessings could be just around the bend if you stop and just say thank you. Even when finding anything to be thankful for seems distant or hopeless.
Try! I will pray for anyone reading this that you find one small blessing in your life, that being grateful for the most minor of benefits will open the door for God to do amazing things in your life.
Okay everyone today is a challenge, a fun challenge for you to do.
When you get home today to your family. I want you to for no reason at all grab your spouse hug them like you’ve never hugged them before. The question flying out of the mouth of your spouse “what’s this all about”?
The answer needs to come from your heart. Be grateful you have someone that is your spouse. Remember the moment you fell in love with that person. Take that love energy and release that connection in your hug. Feel the strength of your bodies embraced in a simple hug. Let that person know you feel blessed, happy, and in love.
If you have kids, get them off a game and do the same. Hug them like you’ve never hugged them before. Let them feel your love and how special they are to you.
Do this with NO expectation. Just LOVE your family for no other reason than LOVE.
Take your cell phone and turn it off. Be present at the moment. Don’t ask about work, how was your day. Just look your family in the eye and just say I love you! That’s it, that’s all. I know in my heart this will be a fantastic experience.
A beautiful surprise is when you can be totally present at the moment and show true love. We get busy, frustrated with life, the list goes on. Take time tonight when you get home to remind your spouse and kids if you have them. How much they truly mean to you. Express your love.
We need to remember kindness, love, and a connectedness to our significant loved ones. I am guilty of not recognizing to be present at the moment with my family. To allow life’s stresses to come home with me. We all do it. Tonight surprise your family, even if it’s just your pet, show them, extra special love, today.
I want to hear stories, so I hope you will come back and share.