Is your life too full? Your marriage, your job, and your family all make enormous demands on your time and energy. Most other things can be sorted into one of these three groups with a little effort. Building a career can require extra hours on the job to land contracts, complete assignments, or just keep up with the paperwork.
Your spouse needs time, and the kids have high expectations about your being available to them. The balancing act can take a toll. Spending a little time setting some priorities and boundaries can make a big difference in this tug of war.
Give your spouse a priority in your life.
Many people make the mistake of lumping their spouse and their family into the same basket. Your spouse is not quite the same. He or she is not someone who will always be connected to you no matter what you do. Your spouse has the right to leave if things go poorly. You had a relationship with your spouse before you started having children and that relationship will continue after the children have grown and moved out. Work on your marriage. Your spouse should be treated as an important partner not a convenience
Date your spouse.
Think relationship. You and your spouse need quiet private time together. Get out the calendar and cut some large holes in it to make time for dates with your significant other. Your mate needs to be your best asset in building your home, career, and family.
Be active in your children’s lives.
Children need both parents if it is at all possible. The ideal situation is that both parents are actively engaged in raising their offspring. Too often, one or both parents can allow their life to become too consumed with their own career to spend quality time with their children. Generally, to have quality time, you have to commit enough time to allow your children the opportunity to bring up the hard questions that children need to have answered by their parents.
Sometimes your children need to see that you value them.
Make occasional last minute changes to your plans in order to go to your child’s ball game or concert. You may think that this will not really matter, but you are wrong. Children notice when their parents take an active and interested role in their lives.
Plan your career path with your spouse.
Some who prefer the title of self-made may find this suggestion odious. However, what you do and how much you earn affects your spouse directly. Your partner should have a voice in major moves that affect the home and family. Along the way, your career will benefit from having the support of your spouse.
As much as possible, leave your job behind when you go home.
Your family does not deserve to have you come home and take out the frustrations of the day on them. They have not caused you to have a bad day. You need to learn to address your grievances to those who have created them. Your family deserves to have you treat them with love, respect, and dignity. Family time is precious enough without your job being a continual intruder. Keep work at work as much as you can.
Negotiate your work schedule.
While companies tend to want workers who line up like tin soldiers and march together from start time to quitting time, most of them can have some flexibility. Factories may have issues with this, but most office settings can live with variations of job schedules. If you have been there for awhile, do some work on a more family-friendly work schedule. You may be surprised at the response if it is well presented.
Learn to draw lines in your life and honor them.
Decide what is most important for you and your family. Determine to make those items a priority. This will require you to become more selective about what you allow to infringe on your family time. Learning to say no can be hard, but it is often the only way to achieve balance in your life. It may also require adjustments to your career goals and job choices.