Torn between family and work

Torn between family and work

Most parents find that when things are going well, everyone is in good health and work goals are progressing, there’s a juggle between work and family, but it all works out most days. It’s when there’s a spanner in the works, a child gets sick or your health gets challenged whilst there’s pressing deadlines at work, that’s when the real test begins. Your patience, your resilience and your achievement focus get tested. Now if you’re a high achiever and if you are reading this then you probably are, you still want to be hitting your deadlines, attending meetings and keeping your finger on the pulse. The idea of a child’s sickness pausing your work progress for the fourth day in a row can be a real challenge. Not because you don’t love your child but because you also love your work. Then there’s the practicalities of looking after a sick child. Booking appointments, trips to the doctor (or worse the hospital), filling prescriptions then remembering to actually give the medicine to your child three times a day, in between phonecalls, meetings and developing your ideas. You lose sleep at night attending to your child, then attempt to function during the day. After a few days of this, your once bubbly, caring personality wears thin and you become something that resembles Bon Jovi being shot through the heart. You find yourself giving love a bad name. Did you really choose to sign up for this? Tired, weary and somehow still going, you hear the words, “thank you for looking after me”, your heart swells and you suddenly remember why you...
Working parent’s currency

Working parent’s currency

What is the most important currency that makes life easier for working parents? It’s flexibility. Flexibility is not just important for working parents, it’s important for everyone. Flexibility in your schedule is what allows you to know you have autonomy over your life, that you can schedule your day to maximise your productivity and work around inflexible commitments relating to those dependant on you. Without flexibility you can feel stressed out, over-worked and time-starved. Cue, quality of life. For working parents, flexibility is the most valuable currency there is. Being able to pick up your child from school a couple of times a week, attend a child’s concert, take them to an activity, be home with them for dinner, these are important and it’s flexibility that enables these moments to occur. It is the quality of time that matters more than quantity. Children spell love with four letters T-I-M-E ~Max Lucado How do you maximise your flexibility to spend time with your child? Whilst there are workplace policies in place for flexible and part-time working arrangements and these can help, there can often be a stigma around actually taking the time, or an incongruous culture to still work set hours, even though policies state otherwise. Taking matters into your own hands as a working parent and working out your priorities is the key to having the work-life blend you desire. And there are a few things you can consider: 1) Outside of any constraints, what is important to you? It may seem like an obvious question. My kids are important to me, my career is important, my partner is important...
The Achievement Shift

The Achievement Shift

You’re a high flyer at work. You get sh*t done. You’re known for doing whatever it takes to get projects over the line. Let’s face it, you’re good at achieving.  Then along comes this bundle of joy, with not a care in the world. No concept of time and space. Just a pure existence.  An existence that consumes your energy and your time and in return offers you pure love. You catch glimpses of enjoying this love and for the most part, you’re thinking I need to do stuff. There’s important stuff I’m not doing because the nappy changing, clothes washing, feeding cycle never seems to end.  You find yourself finishing off dinner, doing the bed and bath time routine, then falling into an exhausted slump on the couch and find yourself asking what did I actually achieve today? So many executive parents find themselves at a loss after having a child because they can no longer relate to their pre-child achievement criteria of being in control of: Getting a project done on time.Getting through a task listGetting feedback on your progress and performance After a child is born it’s the polar opposite, things are often out of your control. They rarely run to schedule, the task list gets bigger and no-one gives you feedback on your progress and performance. “You cleaned that bottom meticulously today, well done” – yeah right!  Feeling like you’re not achieving leads to resentment, frustration and can also lead to anxiety and perceived lack of self-worth, like you’re never doing enough or never get enough done.  Redefining achievement post children comes down to feeling...
Aligning Family and Work

Aligning Family and Work

If you don’t yet know who she is, Jacinda Arden is one of the greatest political leaders of our time. In the aftermath of the Christchurch Attack, as prime minister, she has navigated the community with empathy, love and political grace.  She has requested other world political leaders to focus on peace and empathy for their muslim communities, as she leads the way on how to do this in New Zealand. She is a powerful, peaceful force to be reckoned with.  But what has this got to do with working parents? In an interview with Waleed Aly, she is asked the question, “Have you had time to be with family?” She has a 9-month old baby. She replies, “No, not much.  Actually, at the moment my time with them probably wouldn’t be quality because I feel such a draw to be focused on doing what’s needed for those who have lost loved ones” (An interview worth watching). She responds with conviction and congruency that her nation needs her presence more than her family right now. A few short months ago, she made political history by taking her baby to the UN and in an interview at that time when asked what made her take her baby, she replied that her baby needs to be fed to keep her alive. Amen to that! How often do you find yourself torn between work and family? How does Jacinda manage it all? Now of course not all things are equal – Jacinda has a great deal of support and flexibility in her role as prime minister. However, she demonstrates what is fundamentally...
A busy parent’s guide to raising awesome kids

A busy parent’s guide to raising awesome kids

As time poor parents pursuing full careers and creating amazing childhoods for our children, we have our work cut out. When you first found out you were having a baby, no doubt you read every book or article you could get your hands on and attended classes to prepare. Once baby arrived, you knew your life would never be the same again and you would love the miracle that lay before you in a way you never previously imagined. What you didn’t know and couldn’t prepare for was how much you’d be required to change to accommodate this baby, this person. And as much work as it is, you wouldn’t have it any other way. Add a career to this picture and there is a reality that kicks in, logistics of child care and school (when they are of age), the carers and teachers to connect with, other parents to catchup with and then the paperwork – who knew there’d be so much paperwork?! On top of this you find out all sorts of things about your partner that were OK to handle before a child, after a child – not so much! Come on, be honest..or was it just me? And in amongst all of this reality, nowhere once are you taught how to thrive in amongst the sheer volume of responsibility. It’s not a question of reducing your career (which is an option some choose), it’s a question of how do I do all the things that make me feel alive and ensure my children and family thrive too? Now, let’s be clear this is a conversation...