Work pays the bills, but family is forever.
Modern families are stressed out! According to the New York Times families are stressed, rushed, and tired. Technology is meant to make life and work easier and enable us to stay in touch no matter where we are, but instead what has happened as a consequence is that it has made us feel most alienated, blurred the boundaries between work and home, and most importantly divided our attention and our ability to focus — especially when it comes to our loved ones. We have become the culture of distraction at the expense of our relationships and children.
One of the most dire consequences of this hustle is how are children are being raised. The awe and joy of childhood is replaced by stressed out, overly distracted parents and caregivers yelling at their kids to hurry up, get ready, eat, etc. Task after task. These constantly rushed kids are learning that life is an endless to-do list which is just stressful and exhausting.
But you can do something about that. Here are 5 things you can do to take back your life and balance your work and home life:
1. Hire yourself some help
Meal prep, cleaning, dog walkers — they are all here to help you. Hiring help around the house might cost you a bit of your income, but your children’s happiness and time with those you love most are usually worth the exchange.
2. Ensure your employer cares about your family values
Employers and HR policies play a huge role in work life balance. Some policies that really enable parents to feel more balanced include, work from home options, flexible hours, allocated sick time for when family members are sick etc. In Europe for example siesta is still widely practiced in nations such as Italy and Spain. During Siesta workers go home at lunch for 2-4 hours to share meals with their families and sometimes even get in a quick nap. This will make workers less busy and much more productive.
3. Find a job close to home
We spend so much time in traffic! If you live in a bigger city like Toronto hours and hours are lost a day commuting to work and back. When you move closer to work you save lots of time and stress. Or go even further and move to a smaller town, which ensures getting around town in much less time, leaving you more time with your loved ones.
4. Do something FREE with your family
The more “new” toys and tech you buy, the more you will have to work, the less time you will have for those you love, and the more distracted everyone will be with their gadgets. It’s a vicious cycle that our consumer culture keeps us unconsciously hooked in. If you want more work-life balance, rebel against the status quo that tells you to have a happy home is to buy more and more. For example what if instead of having two cars, you car pool to work with your partner? More time to talk and connect on the way to work and it saves you money for perhaps a family vacation. Question your needs, engaging in what the consumer culture tells you need is sure-fire way to lose your balance.
5. Master the art of doing nothing
Affording to Christine Carter, we often feel starved for time because we have such a hard time sitting still, or enjoying one another’s company. We are so busy trying to be busy, saying that we are busy and thinking we are busy. The voice in our head is constantly dictating the next task you need to complete, or email you need to respond to. You can truly never complete your life’s to-do list. But the reality is this: your family is more important than anything on your to-do list. So put your smart phone down and just be still with your family for a while. Giving your kids focused attention by just sitting still with one another is perhaps the most important thing you can do to have a happy, balanced, and stress free home. Everything else can wait.
Let’s face it: the way we are living nowadays is not healthy and if you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or always in a rush at the expense of those precious moments you could be having with your loved ones you are not alone! But you can do something about it. You are worth it, your kids are worth it, and your partner is worth it!