Finding balance as a parent is more complicated than it appears. Years ago, a single income was more than enough to provide for a family. However, today, things are much different. Instead, a two-income household is now the norm. Despite the increase in income, most do not feel any better off. In fact, since work takes you away from your children and family, many feel worse. There’s more to life than earning a living. Unless you spend time with your family, money doesn’t matter much. Luckily, more people are finding a balance. If you look for it, you can find it too.
Key Concepts of a Balanced Life
- Listen to Your Heart to Know When Things Are In Balance
- If Things Need to Change, Change Them
- Society Does Not Dictate How You Must Live. It Is Your Life And Your Choice
- Sometimes, It Takes a Few Tries to Find the Right Lifestyle
- Children Grow Up Faster Than We Like to Admit
- Once They Are Grown, You Cannot Go Back
- The Value of Being in Your Children’s Lives
Why should you enjoy it when you’re around your little ones? Often, we feel that children are a burden. Of course, in some sense, this is understandable. However, we have a mistaken perspective if we feel this way. The time you spend with them is the most valuable time of all.
Building Stronger Bonds:
Bonding is something that happens when we give it time. Just because you are someone’s parent does not mean they will form a close relationship with you. In fact, as many parents learn, being away makes this difficult. On the other hand, you can make strong connections with those you love simply by putting in the time.
Forming Valuable Memories:
Think about your own childhood. Most likely, you have a few strong memories from back then. In many instances, these memories may seem rather strange. It is not always the big events that our minds remember. Sometimes, it’s just spending time with each other that leaves the greatest impact.
Time Spent With You vs. Time With Nannies
The demands of modern work make us leave our children with strangers. In the past, parents carried their babies nearly all of the time. Today, it is much more common for us to leave them with babysitters, friends and family. Although this is pervasive in our culture, there are other ways you can choose to live.
As a parent, you want the best for your child/children. Society pressures us into spending massive sums on them. Instead of investing your money, invest your time in your children. That way, they will grow close to you as they get older. By the time they reach adulthood, they will appreciate it more than you can imagine.
Bringing in a Nanny:
Leaving the kids with a babysitter is not a bad thing necessarily. Sometimes, it makes sense. Suppose you and your partner want to go out for a date. Then, by all means, call the sitter. However, this should be a rare occurrence. Children grow the most when they are around family. You wouldn’t want the babysitter to spend more time around them than you, right?
The Difference Between Quality Time and Wasted Time
Wasting time is a common fear. However, it should not be so worrisome. When we spend time with children, they gain things from it we wouldn’t expect. All things leave a profound impression on young minds. Every second with our children is quality time.
A Few Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Child/Children:
Often, we think there are specific ways we should spend our time with children. However, much of these beliefs are given to us by society. Even something as simple as a walk could be an amazing experience to share with your children. Suppose you are on a tight budget, then, you could ask your children for ideas about what they might like to do. When we listen, we learn more about those surrounding us.
Common Ways People Waste Time:
Have you ever sat on your phone for hours? Unless you are doing something important, that was a waste of time. Instead, go outside and bring your family. Although electronic entertainment is more popular than ever, people are less connected. Enjoying a movie is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if it is taking time away from your family, things need to change.
Every Second Counts
Whether you spend a few minutes or hours with your children or/and your family, each moment matters. The more time you invest, the better your relationship will be. Even when you are tired, sitting with them for a few seconds can help. Often, we tell ourselves we have no time. On the contrary, we have more time than we realize. If you have a few minutes before you head out, talk with your children. Grab every opportunity you can to further your relationship.
The Importance of the Formative Years:
As your children grow up, you’ll make less of an impact on them. Society pushes ideals into their minds in your place. When you become a parent, there is one thing you must realize. From the first moment, you are impacting your children. In fact, the first seven years of life are the most important in terms of a child’s development. During these years, each second matters. If you can spend even a few extra minutes with your children, it will make a difference. As they get older, you can focus on them a little less. Nevertheless, in the beginning, they should be your world.
When Work Takes You Away From Home
Work is not always convenient. Many careers involve lots of travel. This means you spend much of your time away from home. In that case, spending more time with your kids might feel impossible. Compound that with several other factors, and you are fighting an uphill battle.
Are you the sole breadwinner in your home? If so, you feel a ton of weight on your shoulder. When you are responsible for everyone’s well-being, it can be a tremendous burden. We recommend trying to make what you earn go as far as possible. Often, the amount we make each paycheck does not matter as much as how we spend it. By finding ways to lower expenses, you can spend less time working. Then, you can use the extra time to focus on your family.
Career Options Matter:
Sometimes, we make choices before we become parents that impact the path of our lives. For instance, our career choices play a major role. Some careers let us work from home easily. Others take us away. Depending on the career field you are in, finding time to spend with the family is not always straightforward.
Careers that take us to foreign lands are enticing for younger people. They may not have families yet. Thus, the thought of traveling sounds more like an adventure. Then, you decide it is time to settle down. After you are a parent, things change. Now, traveling is taking you away from the things you love most. We recommend always trying to video chat with your family. That way, you get some face-to-face time with them even when you are gone.
Consider Switching to a Career With Remote Work Options:
Working from afar is not a huge deal anymore. Not everyone has to go into an office to maintain a career. Despite making our lives more complicated, technology has also given us more possibilities. See if you can find a job with remote work options. That way, you won’t leave home for your career. Consider how much time you will save just by getting rid of your commute. That could add several hours to your week by itself therefore more time for your family.
Finding Ways to Connect From a Distance:
Let’s say that you are in a career that requires you to go away for work. In that case, all is not lost. Although things might be more difficult, technology makes it possible to stay connected. We recommend using video calls to see the people you love the most. When you are gone, it can make a major difference.
Separate Homes and Separate Lives
In some instances, workers live apart from their families. Let’s consider the life of an oil rig worker. Often, they are gone from home for several weeks at a time. This may not seem like a huge ordeal at first. Nevertheless, being gone this much guarantees we miss out on many milestones.
Make Up For Lost Time:
If you have to live away from your family, it can be crushing. Everyone wants to be as big a part of their family as possible. Despite the circumstances, it is possible to bond with your children. When you are around, you must take advantage of each moment. Use some of the time when you are away to plan something memorable. That way, your children learn to appreciate the time they spend with you. If you do this, they will eagerly await your return. You will know you did things well when they rush to see you each time you get home.
Isolation Harms Everyone
Working away from your family can make you feel isolated. This feeling is understandable. Just remember, staying isolated harms the whole family. When you do have time, make up for what you missed. That way, you can still try to find some balance. Otherwise, you will start to feel like an island. That is not something you want to feel.
The Negative Effects of Social Isolation:
Social isolation is increasingly common in today’s world. Although there are more people alive than ever, we remain distant from each other. Much of this starts when we are little. With most families having two income earners, children get to see their parents less than ever. Consequently, they grow up without learning how to interact with others. If you have the time, take them out in public. That way, they can learn what it means to interact socially. Otherwise, they might have problems later in life.
Making a Different Choice: Finding Balance Between Work and Family
How can we make different choices? Modern society pressures us to sacrifice our time so we can lead respectable lives. We want to suggest a different perspective. Instead of following the latest trends, emphasize your family. We only have financial obligations because we want to live a certain way. When we choose to lead independent lives, you can lower those obligations drastically.
What Does a Balanced Life Look Like?:
To some, time is the most important thing. Others may value things more. Depending on your preferences, the best lifestyle will be different. Never feel obligated to live your life according to someone else’s plan. If you do, you may find that life is unfulfilling. However, if you stop and listen, you’ll find the truth inside of you.
The Perfect Lifestyle Differs for Everyone:
When we explore our desires, we know what we want. Maybe, you would be happier living somewhere more affordable. That way, you can spend less of your life at work and more of it at home. On the other hand, some people prefer to have nice things. In that case, work as much as possible. There is not a correct choice. It will differ for everyone.
How to Be a Parent Who Is Present
If you are feeling the effects of isolation, you must become more present. Otherwise, your children will grow up with you as a stranger. No parent wants to feel like they cannot connect with their children. Suppose you are stuck in a job that leaves you without any free time. Then, you need to change it. That way, you can do more stuff with your family. Try to downgrade your life a bit. In the past, people lived in smaller homes. By moving to a more affordable place, you’ll have to spend less to support your family. Lowering your expenses is the first step to freeing up your time.
Presence is the Most Important Thing:
If you are present, you are doing a good job. Most of the time, we doubt ourselves as parents. This is likely because of the way we were brought up. However, you can take solace in one thing. Everyone shares those same feelings. No one knows how to be a great parent right away. It is impossible to teach. Nevertheless, as long as you care, you’ll find a way that works. We recommend freeing up your schedule. Then, you can begin spending more time with your family.
Little Things Leave a Massive Impact:
Involve your children in everything you do. Resist the temptation of frustration. Although you could get things done quicker on your own, these moments matter a lot. Without learning from you, children won’t know how to live as adults. Most of us don’t consider cooking to be a major ordeal. However, once they are adults, those moments could be your children’s favorite memories.
The Downsides of Absentee Parenthood
On the other hand, we can let the distractions of modernity dominate our lives. In this case, we will spend more time working. Your kids will be raised by other people. Eventually, they might even hardly recognize you. When you get back home, it won’t feel like a home at all. Instead, it will be as if you were walking into a room with strangers. If you would like to avoid that fate, it is possible. However, unless you make new decisions, this will be an inevitable outcome.
Missing Out on the Formative Years
The years your children are the youngest can also be the most important. Spending time with your children during these years is irreplaceable. Once they grow up, you will have missed the opportunity. As children grow up, they move through different stages of life. In each of these stages, they are open to different experiences. To become the best parent possible, you should be present for all of them. Plus, it is not something you will ever be given a second chance to do. Thus, you must seize the moment now. Otherwise, you’ll regret not taking a chance.
Psychological, Emotional, and Financial Needs: Finding the Perfect Balance
Balancing the needs of a family is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, very few other things in life can affect you the way this does. On the one hand, you could strike the perfect balance. In that case, your family will feel close and secure. On the other hand, you could neglect one or more of these needs. If this occurs, you would not like the result. Some parts of the family will be fractured. In some instances, these fractures can take years to repair.
Taking Care of Your Children’s Psychological Needs
The psychological needs of your children are not the same as their emotional needs. In most instances, these needs revolve around, providing them with a secure home-life. If your children feel they can come to you with anything, you are doing a good job in this regard. However, if your children are closed off to you, there is some work you need to do.
Give Them Somewhere to Feel Like They Belong:
If you want your young ones to really enjoy being around you, make them feel safe. As they grow older, they will come to you with important things happening in their life. When this happens, you will know that you did things right.
Avoid Excessive Punishments:
Sometimes, our children will misbehave. This is unavoidable. Nevertheless, the way we punish them for misbehavior will leave a lasting impression. If you take things too far, it will negatively affect them. Even in your life, you can think of a few times your parents could have handled things differently.
Meeting the Emotional Demands of Parenthood
Children can be very demanding. This is no secret. However, they are also not known to demand things without a need. Despite their limited communication skills, these demands tell us something. It may not be what they believe it to be. However, you can be certain there is an unmet need. When you meet your children’s emotional needs, they become independent individuals. If you neglect these needs, they will become dependent on something later in life. How can we best meet these needs of our kids? Depending on the child, the answer will vary.
Providing for Your Family Without Being Taken Away From Them
Providing for a family is an awesome responsibility. There is not anything else in life that will matter more to you. However, it is easy for us to forget this lesson. In some instances, we even begin to see them as a chore. If you are not happy to see your family, something is not in balance. Unless you do things differently, this is unlikely to change. By striking the appropriate middle ground, everyone benefits. You will feel more fulfilled from your role as the provider. The family will feel more included and secure. Ultimately, this is what most parents seek to provide.
Options Are Available: Make the Right Choice
If you cannot find balance, do not despair. Life does not need to continue being so unsustainable. Instead, use that feeling to drive you. Make a plan to change your life. Without putting forth the effort, things will not be any different. However, with a little sacrifice, your life and that of your family can improve. In fact, it can happen a lot faster than you suspect.