Being a working dad can sometimes feel like an impossible task.
You want to be around more for your kids, but you also want to provide for their future. You feel guilty no matter which road you take, and some days feel like you’re choosing between the lesser evil.
But there is hope. You CAN be a working dad who provides AND is there for your family. Being a working dad doesn’t mean you have to be an absent dad. Although it isn’t easy, there is a way to balance the two.
With some thoughtful planning, communication, and dedication, it is possible to maintain a healthy balance without sacrificing your career or your relationship with your family.
Here are some strategies to help you balance work and being a dad without sacrificing either one:
List your priorities
The first step to balance work and being a father is to prioritize. Yes, it feels redundant and unnecessary, but it’s the most important thing you can do.
Make a list what’s most important to you – in order – then make a list of your goals and responsibilities. You’ll have to revisit this list frequently, because things will almost certainly get out of alignment the busier you get.
Then, develop a plan that allows you to accomplish both your professional and personal goals, and build it around your priorities.
This could include prioritizing your work tasks and delegating tasks to others, setting realistic expectations for your family, and creating a schedule that allows you to be present for your family while still meeting your work commitments.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Making a schedule every day, week, and month is critical to maintaining a healthy balance between work and being a father.
If you have to leave work early during soccer season, plan for that. Can you work earlier in the morning during that season since you know you’ll probably need to leave work earlier than you want?
Don’t live in denial or procrastinating the inevitable thinking it’ll be okay when the time comes for you to leave early. Something will always come up that makes you stay late. So change your schedule in busy seasons to make sure you have margin in your calendar for what’s most important.
Your weekly planning should include setting specific work hours and unplugging from work when you’re with your family. It should also allow you to be fully present for your children during their extracurricular activities and ensure that you have designated family time.
By making a schedule and a plan and sticking to it, you can focus on being present and engaged with your family, while also meeting your professional responsibilities.
Communicate with your employer/clients
It’s essential to communicate your priorities and needs with your employer. Set clear boundaries and make it known.
If you have specific needs or hard lines in the sand, such as needing to leave work early to pick up your children from school or attend your children’s extracurricular events, it’s imperative to discuss this with your employer in advance and make it known that these are non-negotiables for you except for extreme circumstances.
Drawing the line and setting boundaries early will help to avoid future conflicts and ensure that your employer doesn’t accidentally or intentionally creep in on a core value of yours.
Involve your family in your work
Sometimes you can’t avoid the need for extra work. Sometimes you have to do a side hustle or work overtime on your business. In those times, try to include your family wherever possible.
Can they go with you to the office? Can they help you with any of the small tasks you need done? Involving your family in your work can help them develop a better understanding of your professional responsibilities and what it means to work hard for a living.
By involving your family in your work, you can also create a sense of pride in your work and a better appreciation for the time and effort required to provide for a family.
Not taking care of yourself is the quickest way to lose your temper with your family. That’s why self-care is essential to maintaining a healthy balance between work and being a father.
Make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking time for hobbies or interests outside of work and parenting. Prioritizing self-care can help you to recharge and better manage the demands of both your professional and personal life.
Balancing work and being a father is a challenging task, but it is achievable with thoughtful planning, communication, and dedication. By prioritizing and planning, communicating with your employer, setting boundaries, involving your family in your work, and prioritizing self-care, you can maintain a healthy balance between your professional and personal responsibilities.
Remember, being a father is a full-time job, and with the right strategies, you can be successful in both your professional and personal life.
What if your boss is asking you to work more but you don’t want to sacrifice time with your family?
If your boss is asking you to work more, but you don’t want to sacrifice time with your family, there are several steps you can take to handle the situation:
Ask your boss for specific details about what is expected of you and why the additional work is necessary. This will help you understand the situation better and identify whether it’s possible to meet those expectations without sacrificing time with your family.
Explain your situation
Be open and honest with your boss about your family obligations and the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. Explain how the additional work would impact your ability to meet your family obligations and why it’s essential for you to maintain that balance.
Negotiate a compromise
Work with your boss to find a compromise that works for both of you. This could include negotiating a more flexible schedule, working from home, or taking time off in exchange for the additional work.
Talk to colleagues, mentors, or HR professionals for advice and support. They may be able to provide you with additional resources, such as counseling services or flexible work arrangements, to help you manage your work and family responsibilities.
Consider your priorities
Ultimately, you need to decide what is most important to you and your family. If the additional work is too much of a sacrifice, it may be time to consider other options, such as finding a new job or changing your work arrangements.
Remember that it’s essential to communicate with your boss openly and honestly and work together to find a solution that meets both your needs. By being proactive and seeking support, you can find a way to balance your work and family obligations without sacrificing either one.
Is quality or quantity more important when it comes to spending time with your kids?
Both quality and quantity are essential when it comes to spending time with your kids as a father. While spending a lot of time with your kids is valuable, it’s also important to ensure that the time you spend with them is of high quality.
Quality time is about being present and engaged with your children, actively participating in activities that they enjoy, and fostering a strong emotional connection. It involves giving your full attention to your children, listening to them, and responding to their needs.
Quantity time, on the other hand, is about the amount of time you spend with your children. Spending a lot of time with your kids can help you build a stronger relationship with them, create more opportunities for bonding, and increase the chances of creating positive memories and experiences.
While both quality and quantity time are important, it’s essential to find a balance that works for you and your family. Spending a lot of time with your kids doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s of high quality, and spending a limited amount of time with them doesn’t mean that it’s of low quality.
It’s important to make the most of the time you have with your children, whether it’s a few hours or a whole day. Engage in activities that you both enjoy, take time to listen and communicate with them, and create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
The most important thing is to make sure that the time you spend with your kids is meaningful, positive, and strengthens your relationship with them.