Working and being a parent isn't easy. Meeting the demands of a job and the needs of a family are equally difficult, and succeeding at both can seem virtually impossible. It is hard to give 100% at work and at home every day. So when you feel like you're overworked, overtired and over extended, how do you make time to show your kids that you love them? How do you find a balance between nurturing your career and nurturing your family?
It is hard to keep work and home completely separate, especially if you have to work late sometimes, or find yourself bringing work home. You don't have to keep your two worlds separate though, because they aren't separate- you work to be able to accommodate your life at home, to provide for your children. It is important for your kids to know what you do and why you do it. You are a model for their future. Show them what it looks like to be hard working, dedicated and passionate about your job. If you bring work home, find a way for them to feel involved in what you're doing. Let them sort or staple papers, or simply sit next to you with their own notebook and pen. Most importantly, talk to your kids. Share stories about what you do at work. Help them understand where you go when you aren't with them.
While you are telling them about your day, ask them about theirs. Make time to talk. There is something about sitting around a kitchen table, sharing a meal, and talking that establishes a strong family connection. You may not be able to do it every day, but make it a point to sit down together for a couple meals a week and talk over dinner- or breakfast if that works best. Set aside a specific day and stick to it. If you stick to a schedule at work, show your kids that they are just as important by scheduling time with them and, more importantly, sticking to it.
To make sure you stick to your obligations- both at home and at work, create a family calendar. Consider starting a monthly (or more frequent) family meeting. Sit down with the calendar and write down important dates and deadlines. Include meetings and after school activities. Decide together what you can attend and what you cant. Help your kids understand and see that even when you can't make a soccer game or a meeting at school, you are trying, you are making those decisions and concessions together. Once all of the important obligations are penciled in for the month, pick a day to do something fun as a family. Show your kids that they are important enough to have their own special day on the calendar. It will give them something to look forward to, and a chance for them to create a memory with you.
When you think about it, nurturing your career and nurturing your children are fairly similar. Both require time, dedication, focus and hard work. When you go to work, it's not about just showing up for your job with the right tools, is about what you do with the hours while you are there. It's the same idea when it comes to your children. It doesn't matter what toys you buy them, or the number of hours you've been away at work, what matters is what you do with the hours you have when you are with them. Make the time to talk, listen, and play; set aside special times just for them- and even on those days when you're working late, they'll know they are loved.
@ by Rachael Miller
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