Written by Lance Green
Whenever the Broncos played on home ground, I used to tag along with my dad to watch my idol, Randy Gradishar in action. This was the only time we spoke, as my dad was a man of very few words. While players scored brilliant touchdowns, I used to make the most out of the very little bonding time I had with my father.
Most of us grew up in traditional households, where dads were the sole breadwinners of the family, and mums stayed at home to look after the house. As a result, I could never establish an emotional connection with my dad. My dad was just a person who went off to work every morning, came back in the evening, and sat in front of the television with a beer in his hand till he drifted off to sleep.
The day I first held my baby in my arms, I knew that I didn’t want to be like my dad. I wanted to prioritise family life, support my wife in her career, and be involved with my kid’s life.
Being a dad completely shifted my attitude around work, having to look after another human being put my work into perspective. I didn’t want to have exponential growth in my career at the expense of me being an absent parent in the life of my only child.
It wasn’t easy; there are still times when I feel like I miss out on important milestones on the way. Even if the perfect work-life balance only exists in a utopian world, I figured out what was best for my family. Here are some tips to help you balance having enough bonding time with your family whilst nurturing your career:
Prioritise The Littlest Things
Being there for only the critical events of your child’s life isn’t how you balance work and life. The smallest of things like knowing your child’s favourite cartoon character, taking your child to school every day or taking daily walks around the neighbourhood can yield the most unforgettable memories. These day-to-day interactions tend to nurture a better father-child relationship.
This does not mean that you should stagnate your career growth. The fact that your kids look up to you as a role model is the only motivation you will need to be a leader at work without a tinge of regret.
You should know what is urgent. You can put some work issues can be put on hold without having to suffer any consequences. Some emails can wait in your inbox for a few days, and some papers can be signed off the next day at work. You aren’t procrastinating by doing this; you are just working towards achieving a perfect balance.
Establishing goals doesn’t mean that you have to plan out performance metrics, or you have to make plan models for your family. Set goals to help your partner and be a better dad to your children. You could make a chart which decides school drop-off and pick-up timetables or the weekly groceries you need to pick up. It helps you figure out what you need to do around the house and how you can be productive to your household.
Make sure that you have at least 3 hours daily to spend quality time with your kids. Have a family game session every weekend or a game of table tennis every day. Have a consistent presence at home, think twice before taking up jobs that require you to travel too much. When you are more present around the house, your kids acknowledge and respect you; which in turn allows you to be a better disciplinarian.
Draw A Fine Line
If you currently work in a top-tier firm with a 6-figure salary, congratulations!
However, top jobs also require you to invest a lot of time into your work. Once you land a leadership role, you’re accountable for all the mishaps that happen in your office. This burns up the time you kept aside for your family.
All you need to do is to set boundaries between your work and family life. Prioritise family events life your son’s football games over your company’s work-late culture. Your colleagues need to understand your intentions of protecting the very little time you have with your family.
The final message is crystal clear. You need to make sure that you do not intersect work and family life together. This makes you a complete parent and will help you live a fulfilled dad life.