Growing up my father was a busy, busy man. As an ER nurse, he often worked odd and irregular hours. I remember not thinking much of it at the time necessarily. I was young and this was the way things were. He worked nights and slept during the days. He would eat dinner with us and then run off to the hospital for his shift. I was never bitter that he was unable to attend after school award ceremonies or sporting events because of his medical professional schedule, but I do think about it a lot now that I myself am older and thinking more and more about starting a family. When I think about all the times my dad was too tired to hang out after his long shift in the hospital or got called in to take on someone’s shift on the weekends, I begin to realize just how difficult and important finding a comfortable work/life balance is. Thankfully, today there are many creative and unique avenues professional parents can use to connect with their families at the same time as managing a busy work life.
Even if you are away at work or travelling around the country for your job, you can still get that “face-to-face” connection with your family. Obviously, this is not ideal and it may sound a little ridiculous, but consider using Skype or video chatting with your kids and spouse during your busy times with work. This day and age, our careers are as much a part of our lives as our loved ones and homes. The two things cannot always be kept separate and there are times that one is going to have to be sacrificed for the other. By finding ways to engage with your family and loved ones even while you are busy, you will help them to feel more connected with you and you yourself will feel better. Our computers and cellphones today have video chatting capabilities that were not available when I was a kid. Rather than just calling home, do a video chat.
Today, parents and kids have so many different avenues for reaching out and saying hi to their loved ones. If you know you are going to have to stay late at work or you are away on a weekend business trip, try sending your kids a “hello” tweet on Twitter. Not only will this be a welcome surprise, but you can be the “cool” mom/dad (or maybe you can embarrass them a little bit). Connecting with your family while you’re at work or busy in the office through social media and social networking can be a great way to put in a little extra effort.
The Real Deal
Of course, there is no substitute for the real thing. For a healthier and happier life, you need to find a way to better balance your work and your home. No one is going to feel satisfied or happy, if all of your attentions are being focused in only one of these areas. Understand your priorities and find ways to make compromises on both fronts. Yes, using modern technology as a tool for communication with the family is a great help, but there is really nothing like spending time with mom or dad at dinner or going out on the weekend as a family.