Fast Company

24/7/365 Family

3 hours.  That is the amount of time on average I see my children each day during an average work week.  3 hours.  My children ages 3, 2, and 2 months, are amazing and need their dad.  My wife is now working full time as a mom, which is a career shift for her leaving teaching after 4 years.  She is caught in this transitional period where we are forced to reorganize our days to bear the demands of our responsibilities.

Strain, is what this period feels like for our family.  Everyone is hungry for attention, including my wife and I.  It seems we do not have the supply to meet the demand.  So the question of the day is, "Who gets to be disappointed today?"  Regaining the balance in this environment is the only option, and it involves asking uncomfortable questions and finding a win-win for our family.

This week my wife and I talked about this intangible cloud that rests above our family, and what we need to do to regain control of our days.  We have tried in the past to make sweeping changes, only to revert back to old habits in hours let alone days.  This time we are going to focus on the foundation of our relationship, spending one hour per night without the television talking about our future, and goals as a team.  Making this one change in the daily grind, I hope, will trickle down to other areas of our family lives that need attention.

The days are still over packed and time is far more valuable than the dollar at this point.  I've learned that no matter if you are wealthy or poor, successful or down trodden; we all get the same 24/7/365.  It is a universal fact that each day comes and goes at the same rate for every person on this Earth.  So I'll strive to keep listening, learning, sharing, loving, and living the best I can. 

Work/life balance is a topic that is therapeutic for me to write about.  I hope that the stories I share about my experience will resonate with others facing the same challenges.

 

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3 Comments

  • BJ McKay

    Thank you for the comments gentlemen. Darryl, thank you for sharing your story. I agree with you both. "Legacy," is a great descriptor for what I'm discerning right now. I can say with confidence that at the end of my time, when people are sharing stories about my life, I hope that they will reflect upon the lives I've changed and opportunities I've created for others.

    Honestly, I hope someone says, "Where did he work again?" Because, I believe, that in the end the man is measured by how many people fallen he has picked up, and how many people he has inspired to reach their potential.

    Being raised by a workaholic has rubbed off a bit more than I'd like to admit. Working against the grain to change that part of my nature is a constant struggle, but one that I take seriously everyday.

  • Darryl Stewart

    This sounds like me for many years. I have turned it around I think just in time. My oldest is 7 and I am so aware how close I came to not bonding with him the way I wanted to before the influences of society start having a stronger impact on him.

    I can see so clearly that to reason I have taken fourty years to reach a basic level of emotional intelligence is that I had no male mentor - I was raised by my mom and my dad worked. One week in the summer and many evenings of him yelling at me over some sport or another were the extent of his mentorship.

    That is not good enough - I want to let my kids explore the world and do their own thing - but with patient caring guidance that I never had. Right now I see the challenge is to become a trusted part of their world while they are still young, to let them feel unconditional love and to see me as a great role model. This takes a bit more than 3 hours a week for me.

    My first step was thinging about what I wanted my Legacy in life to be and it all centered aroudn those kids! Everything started from there.

  • Edward Sussman

    An extra hour without television or work: some people would talk, some people would dance, some people would sing. I'd probably choose to play with the kids...