How I Juggle Work And Family Life
Before I got married, balancing work and life was not really a thing for me. I pretty much took things as they came. I stayed at work or stayed out after work for as long as I wanted to. If the pressure at work ever got too much, I looked for a new opportunity somewhere else. I was only responsible for myself so it was much easier then.
Now that I have a young family, it is a completely different story. My family are literally my life. So the role of work/ career in my life has also become more significant. For the simple reason that it’s part of my responsibility to ensure my family are financially secure and stable. Having to be accountable on these two fronts mean that I certainly need a work life balance so I don’t burn out, and I’m able to be the man at home and at work.
I’d be lying if I said getting that balance right has been straightforward or easy. Living up to expectations both at work and at home certainly takes its toll on me at times. There are times where the wife and I are going through a tough period, but I still have to go to work and deliver with a smile even though I’m emotionally all over the place. Other times, it is work going crazy, I get home and the wife immediately wants to talk about the drama happening with her colleagues; a colleague cheating or someone was rude to her at work. My little 2 years old doesn’t know any different. Dad home simply means playtime before bedtime. The wife expects me to be a husband and my son expects me to be a dad. As much as I’d like to be a superman, there are times I struggle and want to get away from everything.
As I cannot run away from the family or work, I have to adapt. Here are few thing I’ve been working on to ensure that I do not get stressed and ensure I’m giving both work and family the attention that both deserve.
GETTING SOME ALONE TIME
The thing about trying to deliver for the family and at work is that one has to keep giving. The thing about giving constantly is that it gets draining.
Over time, I have learnt to make to create some time for myself. Sometimes after the family has gone to bed, I stay up so I can chill with myself. I write, play FIFA or just talking to myself about my life dreams and goals. These things are therapeutic for me, helps me to not burn out so I’m able to give work and my family the attention they deserve.
One thing I’ve been doing recently is taking 5-10minutes to just sit by myself when I return from work. Especially if I’ve had a really long or hard day at work. This way I do not take out any frustration out on the family.
COMMUNICATING MY FEELINGS
I am the sort of person that bottles in my feelings and like to get over things in my own time, so this has been a struggle but I’m better now. This gets tough for my wife, because I come home at times and I don’t feel like talking about anything. She gets the one liners to every question which drives her crazy and rightfully so.
Over time I’ve learnt that it helps to communicate how I’m feeling about work or even about home life if that’s the issue. I’ve also found that it helps me saying how I’m feeling within myself – whether tired, stressed or if I need some time to relax. My wife luckily is very understanding so she allows me the time I need to get myself together. In cases where she needs to support, she does that as well.
We end up creating a lovely family moment, which helps to get my mind of work and prepares me to face the world the next day.
BEING ABLE TO SEPARATE BOTH WORLDS
When the line between work and home get blurred, there is a potential issue. There’s the need to be able to separate both worlds.
Luckily I’m the type of person that’s able to switch off from work. More times than not, as soon as I walk out of the office, I mentally switch off and look forward to spending some quality time with my wife and son.
From time to time, I have to do some additional work at home but I ensure this does not happen regularly. When it does, I let the wife know. I have a work mobile and it’s always tempting to keep up with emails and respond at home. I tell myself it can wait so I let it wait until the next day.
I’ve found that the key to this is time management. I do my best to get most things done so I do not have to take work home. If the workload is piling up, I work late a day or two during the week so for the rest of the week I’m home in time and can focus on the family when I’m home.
HAVE A GOOD TIME AT WORK AND AT HOME
I try not to take work too seriously. I get my job done at the same time and I have a good time at work. 8 hour is a long time to be at work and not be having a good time, I work with some colleagues that over time have become friends. There’s a group of us that lunch, banter together and go out for drinks from time to time after work. These are people I can share work dramas with, I de-stress and can leave work at work.
I maintain the same energy when I get home as well. Keeping the peace and ensure I’m going home to a loving environment, where the family and I can enjoy quality time.
Living the best life I possible can at work and at home, helps to reduce stress levels as well as maintain that healthy balance in both places.
All the things I’ve listed has works well for me so far. The ultimate way to balance everything for me is making my family the number one priority. I have been in the place where home is not so good, it brings emotional instability which upsets the balance making productivity at work difficult.
I invest so much to ensure that everything is well at home. If the wife and I are going through a rough period, I ensure it’s resolved as quickly as possible. The way I see it is that, home is my refuge. It’s where I have people that know me and accept me in totality. If everything is good at home, then I look forward to coming home after a long day at work. I can rest and receive the strength I need to face the world again the next day with a smile.
When it’s all said and done, getting a new job is easier compared to trying to replace my family.