This week's Mr. Perfect blog comes courtesy of Sofia Lockett. Sofia is a freelance writer with a passion for design, art, and destigmatizing issues surrounding mental health. Sofia has written for sites such as Ocula, an online contemporary art platform, providing programmes for galleries around the world.
In the modern age, we are always on the go. Technology has made our lives easier, but it has also ensured that we are always reachable - which is somewhat of a double-edged sword. It’s great to be able to reach the kids when you don’t know where they are, or have them call you if they need to, but it also means that we are expected to be available at all times. For example, your boss might cast negative judgements upon you if you choose not to pick up after a certain time.
Men are traditionally expected to work hard while their partner looks after the children, but this can be a toxic attitude to possess: men too desire to be present in their children’s lives, and should be able to balance work alongside family life instead of being expected to focus solely on work. This expectation, among other pressures common in today’s world, results in men often wondering how best to balance time between work and family, finding that it can be extremely difficult to find the right amount of time to allocate to both.
If you follow a few key steps on how to balance time between work and family, you’re likely to feel that you have a healthier life, and to make your family happier in the process.
Making a routine can be beneficial to both you and your family, especially if you’re spending a lot of time away from home. Plan for a particular night each week during which you will spend quality time together. It doesn’t have to be anything more than watching a movie or cooking a meal together, but children have a right to know what to expect from their parents, and it will help them immensely to have a night to look forward to.
Additionally, coordinate with your partner and plan a set night to spend together. Even though it may feel difficult to find the time, ensuring you have at least the occasional date night with your partner will help to keep things from becoming mundane.
Always try to keep work and family life separate. Having a support system is important, so obviously you can vent to your partner if you’ve had a particularly rough day at work, but try to keep negativity away from the kids as much as possible so they can enjoy their time with you. Try to be present while you’re at home – kids pick up on negativity and are particularly prone to blaming themselves.
Live within your means. Working longer hours might be tempting, as it will allow you to make more extravagant purchases, but consider your priorities. Is it worth sacrificing that day out with your kids to buy a bigger television? Most people would consider family to be much more important than work, so always try to remember where your priorities lie when making decisions.
Regarding working more, don’t be afraid to say no. Work hard and take pride in what you do when you are at work, but if your job is demanding too much of you, again remember your priorities. Your family will be with you for life, while your job is a means to an end. Don’t let them become confused.
Spending too much time working instead of with your family can have detrimental effects on both your life and the lives of those around you. Mental health is extremely important, and unfortunately for men, mental health problems aren’t addressed often enough. Creating a healthy home environment can help to prevent stress, and it may also help you to cope when stress does occur. Considering how negatively stress and poor mental health can affect men, the importance of a work-life balance should be addressed in every household before it becomes an issue.