By Marie Miguel
Finding family time is important for building a foundation of trust, support, and unconditional love. When you can’t seem to find enough of it, it can feel like the fabric of your family is completely unraveling.
Of course, maintaining a career is important. Being able to put food on the table is important. But, how do you find a good balance? And how do you manage to please everyone when work gets really busy?
It can be difficult to be the parent you truly want to be, especially while simultaneously working and providing for your loved ones. A healthy balance with your work life and personal life can feel evasive.
Fortunately BetterHelp offers a massive database of advice articles about good parenting practices, what it looks like, and how it may vary according to your circumstances. Skim through the articles offered on BetterHelp and they may answer some pressing questions that you have about being a parent.
That’s what we are here to address. Even when work gets increasingly difficult, there are ways to keep your family time afloat.
FaceTime on Breaks
If you find yourself spending more and more prolonged hours at the office, you probably haven’t talked to your family much throughout the day.
A simple solution: don’t wait until you are home to check in with them.
Even if it means simply taking a 5 minute coffee break and calling your partner, it can show that you care. It can show that you’re interested in a life outside the office and that you want to be a part of what is happening in the family.
Even if you feel like your energy levels are too low to put your best foot forward, a phone call is a thoughtful gesture. Plus, it might even brighten your day.
Even when you can’t get out of work early, you can plan ahead based on your kids’ calendar.
Don’t miss your child’s recital, their soccer game, their play, or their parent-teacher conference, if you can help it.
Those moments might feel disposable to you, but they are incredibly pivotal to a young mind. Showing up for your child will go a long way.
Your presence is a reminder that you love them, support them, and care about their interests.
In the beginning of the month, write down all the important “cannot miss” dates and talk with your boss about leaving the office on time to be there for your family.
Perhaps you are a bit nervous to talk with your boss about your “cannot miss” dates. Perhaps you think that your boss will not care or that they will think less of you for it.
The reality is that you are not risking your job by simply asking. When you learn how to ask for what you want in a respectful, clear, and concise way, you are more likely to get what you want.
When working with stubborn employers or those who don’t understand the value of family time, it’s important to set boundaries and stick to them.
If there is something within the family that you absolutely cannot miss, and then work gets in the way, be honest with your team about your need to leave, and ask for forgiveness later. Upholding the fabric of your family alongside your partner is far too important.
Setting boundaries can feel intimidating. Perhaps it is not in your nature to be confrontational or outright with what you need.
But, the more you practice setting boundaries, the more you will be able to live within your values.
Living within your values means curating an environment in which you feel healthy, and in which you feel as though you can grow.
For instance, if you value trust, reliability, and honesty, but you have people in your life or circumstances in your life that do not live within those same values, you have to make a choice.
Do you allow yourself to manage within those circumstances? Do you allow yourself to be surrounded by those types of people? Of course, there is always room for compromise.
Not everything in your life will be reflective of your ideologies. But fundamentally, setting boundaries with work, with friends, and with hobbies can help you live within one primary value: family.
If you are living with a partner, perhaps date night has become a thing of the past.
With kids, work, and a number of schedules to balance, date night might even feel disposable. Don’t let it become that way.
Bring back date night if you are not already setting aside time with your partner.
Date night, even once a week or once every other week, can really help you and your partner stay in sync. It can give you a chance to unwind, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company.
It does not have to be expensive, or extensive, or late at night, but going out to dinner or to a movie can act as a reset.
It gives you both the opportunity to get grounded. It’s your chance to establish your commitment to the partner and to the family, consistently.
Order A Gift
If you find yourself spending late nights in the office over a long period of time, you can send a gesture of your love in the form of a gift.
For example, you can order dinner for the family to be delivered to the house while you are still at work.
Likewise, you can send flowers to your partner, or a bottle of wine to crack open when you get home. Acts of service and gift giving can help showcase your attentiveness even when you cannot be physically present.
While they are not the same as being physically present, they can be good placeholder behaviors for the time being.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.