Today’s fathers are more and more involved in their kid’s lives. As school starts back up and calendars fill with work and extracurricular activities, the logistics of day to day life can get a little crazy!
How does a guy balance the kid’s soccer games with fiscal presentations and holiday preparations and still stay sane? You juggle; which isn’t easy. So here are some pointers…
1. There is no Work/Life Balance. Reassuring, huh? Seriously though, the fact of the matter is that juggling work and family is a whole lot harder than just sticking to one or the other. Let’s be honest, we don’t juggle our families and our careers to make life easier; we juggle them to get more out of life. We juggle because we want career success and we also want to enjoy our family and we also want to stay in shape, and we also want to ______. But you have to understand that along with “having it all” there’s a bit more insanity and chaos that’s just par for the course. Get used to it!
Unfortunately, we’ve developed an ideal of “having it all” where we achieve some state of work/life balance nirvana where it gets easy and everything falls into place. But nothing could be further from the truth. And that’s ok. Enjoying your family and enjoying a career is crazy. That’s why it feels crazy at times. But the payoff is that you get to experience and enjoy much more of your family and of your life than you would otherwise. It’s well worth the added effort.
2. Time is Finite, Prioritize. You have 24 hours in a day. There aren’t any exceptions to that rule. You need to sleep. You need to eat. You probably have a job you should go to… Get the picture? 24 hours goes fast and you can only fit so much in a day. So, know what you need to get done, what you want to get done, and what is probably unrealistic. Assess what’s on your plate and prioritize. Treat family commitments just like career commitments and put them right on your calendar. Work smarter, not longer. You can only do so much, and once you have a family, you have an obligation to them. If it’s a toss-up between golf with the guys and your daughter’s dance recital… the golf can wait (as much as that hurts).
3. The Regret Test. How do you prioritize? Ask yourself this, “Will I regret not having taken advantage of this opportunity?” You’ll be surprised how that question shapes your actions. Often, the big things you think matter take a back seat to the simple moments you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself this question when you have a lot on your plate, and don’t be afraid to go with your gut.
4. Establish Good Habits. Habits matter and consistency shapes your kid’s (and your own) expectations. If you tell your son you’ll be at his soccer game at 4pm, than be there at 4pm. Force yourself to set good habits and be consistent. Tom Sturges, author of Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children (Ballantine Books), says “If you bring your work home with you – you’re such a bore… work at the office. And when you step in the door be 100% DAD. If you do that, then your children will understand that there are times you just need to work, but that when you’re there with them, you are all theirs.“
Ben Murphy is a husband, father, artist, and founder and CEO of The Father Life. He and his family live in upstate New York.
Article image by: Dani Simmonds SXC
Ben Murphy, founder of The Father Life, is an Adventure Athlete, Writer, and Wellness Advocate who used to be obese. You can ask him your questions at www.BenMurphyOnline.com. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and three daughters.