Recently, I led a workshop on balancing home and career. As I walked into the conference room, I noticed row after row of ladies. Peering at the back row, my eyes fell on one lonely man wedged between two women. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. The seminar host and I certainly had not communicated on the brochure that this particular workshop was designed with ladies in mind. Surprisingly, he chose to stick it out, acknowledging that he might glean a nugget of truth he could apply to his situation.
I silently breathed a prayer that God would use me to encourage this man who obviously desired to be a conscientious worker, as well as a loving, attentive husband and father.
At the close of the workshop, the man approached me to sign up for Lifetime Growth News and purchase a copy of my book, Tranquil Moments. We chatted a bit further about how to make time for family while traveling so much with his job. Brainstorming, we came up with a few solutions to an admittedly challenging pressure.
Yes, you are a busy man, but balancing home and career might be easier than you think if you try a few of these simple suggestions.
Schedule date times with your wife and each child.
Rarely does an event happen these days unless it is penciled in on the calendar. Sit down with your family and decide on the best days of the week to spend alone time with each member. Overwhelmed by this thought? Think in small chunks of time. A twenty minute park trip with three-year-old Johnny is better than no park trip at all with dad. A fifteen minute boardgame on the floor in twelve-year-old Elisa's room is better than no game at all. Measurable goals are more easily attained. Don't wait for the BIG blocks of time. Make use of the SMALL CHUNKS and get it on the calendar so that you don't forget.
If your job requires you to travel frequently, make tapes/videos for your wife and children to view while you are away.
Read a portion of Scripture and pray. Tell a story or some of your favorite jokes. If you sing or play an instrument, share a song on the tape or video. In this way you can invest in your family's life even when you are away! Many younger children especially enjoy listening to tapes at bedtime. Hearing daddy's voice can be a tremendous comfort and reassurance.
Call home during breaks at work just to say "I love you; I miss you. How's your day going?"
Leave notes for your wife and kids if your schedules are so varied that you don't see each other during the day.
Post sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, in dresser drawers, on the kitchen counter, or in the car. Even short phrases, like "Praying for your exam today" or "I'll be thinking about you during team tryouts" can be touching reminders to those you love that you are thinking about them throughout the day and that you keep abreast of what is happening in THEIR world.
Make frequent use of hugs when you ARE home!
Even an arm around the shoulder or a pat on the back accompanied by a warm smile can reassure a family member that you are there, even if the encounter is brief.
In short, CARPE DIEM! SEIZE THE DAY! Or at least small chunks of it to invest time in your family's life. Yes, you are a busy man, but balancing home and career might just be easier than you think if you use the time you DO have to invest in your family's lives.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, speaks to women’s groups and conducts seminars with her husband. Her current work in process, Seasons of Hope (a contemporary romance) profiles a blind woman who seeks refuge at Camp Hope only to encounter the man who took her sight. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com