“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” – Alain de Botton
Finding the balance between life and work is a delicate and ongoing task. This balance fluctuates and topples throughout our lives, some of us more than others. But perhaps at no time is this balance trickier than when you have small children in your life!
Work has to happen, of course. There is really very little many of us can do in order to spend more actual time with our families. This being the case, it is important that your are mindful that time you do spend with them is of the best quality. Yes, you must put as much effort into the time spent at home as the time spent at work, but this doesn’t mean it has to be hard! Here are a few ways to ensure that you are getting as much quality family time as possible on a daily basis, without having to come up with a significant compromise or crazy master plan!
The key to any busy but efficient life is planning. There have been times in my life where I have been living one day to the next without much of a plan; free-falling through life. There is a thrill to this, but it can make for an inefficient use of time. As you may know, there is little room for badly spent time with kids! So, scheduling, planning and specific timings are your friend here.
Keep to bedtimes, keep to dinner times, and keep to plans. This may often be easier said than done, but with a plan there is much less chaos when things go wrong. Indeed, contingency planning is also wise.
2. Keep Your Promises
Speaking further in ‘plans’ here. The best thing you can do, in order to get the family time you and your kin desire, is to be strict with yourself. If you say that you are going to be home a certain time, be home at that time. If you say that you will cook breakfast with the kids on Sunday or read a story tonight, make sure you do. This will not only create positive bonds and create memories you will treasure, it will also make our children feel secure and looked after. All of this help to make those moments of connection grounded and positive.
3. Involve Them in Your Everyday Life
Kids love to be involved. So, if it is the weekend and you have a load of ‘life admin’ to do (shopping, DIY or cooking, for example), let them get involved. This is a great way to spend quality time with your family, whilst also getting done what you need to get done (albeit, maybe a little slower than usual).
4. Relax with Them
When you come through the door from work, don’t feel bad about not going to be with them immediately. Sure, your family may be excited to see you, but you don’t want to plunge in before you have had time to gather yourself. Go and get changed, have a shower, be quest for 5 minutes. prepare yourself to be relaxed and at ease with your family. Be mindful of your own needs. Short decompression periods are a way to ensure good levels of self-care, and to give your family access to a happy and present ‘you’.
5. Meal Times
Food is not just a way to fuel yourself, meal times can be great bonding moments. There is a reason that the heart of most homes is the kitchen! Making easting with your family at least once a day offers a fantastic opportunity to share both food and conversation with your family. It’s a good a check in point as you can get. A designated opportunity to catch up with the day to day lives of everyone, and to build a bonded family unit.
6. Talk to Them… and Listen
Taking to your children is perhaps the most important way to connect with your children. This is not always easy. In order to build trust, you must be mindful of how best they communicate. Maybe they will get deep an meaningful with you over dinner? Or perhaps they like to chat in private, or passively whist doing an activity. Find ways and situations that facilitate quality connection. Oh, and don’t forget to really listen and to react mindfully and thoughtfully.
By Chris Thomson
For more ideas on how to make your home life a bit more efficient and chilled out, check out this handy article from our archives… Mindful Living: De-Stress Your Mornings
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