Last night I had a realization.
I have to do a better job of making sure that my family time is really my family time. This weekend I spent a fair amount of time catching up on work. It wasn’t necessarily work I needed to do this weekend, but I knew by doing it I would feel less stressed this coming week.
As I was working through a number of different tasks, I kept thinking to myself, “Okay, when this is done, I’ll have some time to play with my kids.” And then, when it was done, I had to take care of a few errands, and then before we knew it, we had company over. The same thing happened the next day. I was sitting with my kids in their playroom, working away, while they were playing.
I was present, but not entirely.
It’s a weird thing, really. I don’t feel like I’m an absent dad by any means, but I don’t think I’m as present as I could be either. And, in the end, that ended up stressing me out just as much as not completing my work would have.
We all struggle with different aspects of our personal and professional lives. Balancing work and family is something that I continue to need help in order to do. It seems to me that those of us who have found an appropriate balance tend to be happier, more innovative in their thinking, and more confident in their decision-making.
While I have made good progress in this area, it is clear to me that I regularly slip back into habits that I held before I had children. So, every once in a while these “epiphanies” are helpful to me in order to make sure that I remember to readjust.
In our work as leaders and learners, we have to help others make those readjustments too. Sometimes that means giving people the support and/or time they need. During other times, it means asking the right questions to help our colleagues prioritize.
While I’m sure I’ll always sway back and forth, hitting that balance every once in a while is something I strive for, and as long as I keep moving in the right direction, I at least know I’m aware of the need to change!