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Balancing a family and working full-time can be difficult. As a devoted provider for your family, you try to dedicate as much time and effort to your career as you do to your family. However, sometimes “providing” and “success” comes at the cost of family harmony or children’s personal growth. Here are five unique pieces of advice for balancing work and family:
1. Recognize that there is no such thing as a “perfect” work-life balance
When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably envision a productive day at work followed by an early departure to spend the rest of the day with friends and family. This is a nice thought, but it’s not always realistic. If you want to achieve a satisfying balance between your professional and personal obligations, strive for a realistic schedule rather than a flawless one. There will always be “more work to do.” It’s important to balance your life by making time for your interests and loved ones daily rather than relying on long stints at home or out of the office.
Related: 15 Ways to Better Manage Your Work-Life Balance as a Parent and Entrepreneur
2. Create a digital connection with your teen, and make them laugh
As parents, we want to promote less screen time, but creating a digital connection with your teenager in today’s digital age is also important. You’ll inevitably have to stay late at the office, miss dinner with your family or cancel plans at some point. This is where having a digital connection with your teenager can help a bit. That could mean sending them funny Instagram filter videos or even Snapchat filter videos. You want to try and connect with them on their level, where they connect digitally with their friends. This could take less than five minutes and could make all the difference. Perhaps you should learn some of their lingoes, and surprise them. Brace yourself — this is going to sound a bit strange. But here are some weird, yet current phrases for you to learn: “sus,” “cap” and “bet.”
Sus (pronounced suhs) means something is suspicious.
Example: “Sidney, why are you acting so sus all of a sudden?”
Example: “Sidney, you can be honest with me. No need to act sus — you know I love you.
Cap means something is not true, it’s a lie, or you don’t believe it.
Example: “Jeremy, don’t cap. You know you didn’t study for a full hour.”
Example: “Jeremy, we both know that’s cap. Just be honest with me.”
Bet means “okay” or “deal” or “sure, let’s do it.”
- Example: “Okay, Cody, BET. After you finish your homework tonight, you can play video games for an extra 90 minutes.”
If you’re trying to get your teen to smile (or look at you weirdly), try using several of these in one sentence.
- Example: “Andy, I know you want to play video games with your friends. So stop capping about how much studying you’ve done. You’re acting very sus — I see right through you.
Be ready for your teen to look at you very funny as well as maybe eye roll and laugh at you when using any of these words, but always say them with a smile. The point of using their lingo is to connect with them on a different, albeit random, level.
Related: 8 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Balancing Work and Family
3. Family dinner — as much as possible — with NO phones
Family dinner is a time to gather around the table and collectively disconnect from the world. This allows you to have dedicated one-on-one time with your children (and loved ones) to learn about their days and is a perfect time to laugh together over some food. Do your best as a parent to be positive during this time with your family. DO YOUR BEST to make this time about your family and NOT your work.
Make a strict NO PHONE rule at dinner, so everyone is present. You might receive some pushback from your adolescent family members about no phone use at dinner due to teen phone addiction. This is actually called nomophobia, meaning “no mobile phobia.” It’s the fear of being detached or disconnected from one’s phone.
Be sure to ask specifics about your teenager’s day, and follow up on questions you’ve asked on previous days.
Ask about their friends, teachers, classes and sports if they play them.
Stay involved in their lives. Don’t just “ask to ask.” Genuinely care and listen to what they say.
Learn about what is upcoming in their lives that excites them.
Figure out what you can do to encourage, motivate and help them think creatively.
4. Make a strategy and routine — AND FOLLOW IT
Strategizing is difficult when you have a million things to accomplish at work and with family, especially when new variable situations always appear out of nowhere. Yet putting thought into creating a strategy with your “must-have priorities” cannot be overstated. Some things from your list will fall off due to variance in your days, but there are important objectives that must be accomplished from the list, and others can roll over to the next morning. Do your best not to compromise your family promises consistently. Now and then is understandable, but our world is built on consistency, and your family will notice.
Related: 5 Essential Strategies for Blissful Balance of Work and Family
5. Unplugging is important and recommended
Shutting down from the digital world/work enables us to live in the moment and recuperate from everyday stresses. It also creates mental space for new ideas and thoughts to develop. Unplugging may be as easy as putting your phone down at a certain time or practicing meditation.
True disconnection sometimes entails taking holiday leaves and turning off all work for a while. Whether you’re on a one-day staycation or a two-week trip with the family, it’s critical to take time off to manage your physical and mental health. Taking time off might seem impossible, but you can do it. It will bring benefits for both you and your family.
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