Below are a few tips I recommend for setting boundaries based on talking to other parents, learning from friends’ experiences, and simply going through trial and error:
Regularly Map Out Your Work Schedule: Whether you punch the clock or run your own business, come up with a firm, yet reasonable number of hours you will work each week. Okay, unforeseen circumstances may cause you to veer off course, but try to make sure that this only occurs in rare circumstances or when you have no other choice.
Adopt Other Activities in Your Life: One way to make sure you stick to your boundaries is to plan time for other activities. Some examples would be purchasing a membership at the local gym, scheduling routine dates with your significant other, or devoting time to a hobby or pastime that takes your mind of the work grind. I’ve found that focusing your energy on activities you enjoy is an effective method for making sure you don’t slip up.
Give Your Children Guaranteed Time: In all honesty, making a commitment to your kids is probably the best way to ensure that your career isn’t ruling over everything else you consider important. I would even go as far as suggesting setting aside time every day to spend with them; invaluable time that can’t be breached by a last minute call-in, meeting with a new client, or other work-related activities.
Just Say No: Turning down overtime or opportunities for extra work can be hard, especially when you are trying to maintain a household and know that every penny counts these days. Still, if you want to keep things in order at home, you must find the will to decline additional work that isn’t mandatory and activities that are not necessarily important. I’m not saying that overtime is evil, but if it calls for you to miss out on quality time with your children, I think passing up on a few extra bucks is okay.
Not Easy, But Not Impossible
I would be setting you up for failure and flat out lying if I told you that there was a simple solution for balancing your career and family life. It’s a difficult road the divorced dad must travel. Even if you already appear to have everything in order, there are sure to be a few bumps along the way. Trying to manage them both can be downright frustrating and after a while, you could feel as if some greater force is putting your sanity to the test. In due time, however, I think the balance we all seek identifies and works itself out.
With a little practice, you can come up viable scenarios for whatever work or family life throws your way. Being able to find perfect harmony may be a stretch, but dedication and discipline to what’s important makes balancing these two essential elements a very achievable act.
Contel Bradford is a professional freelance writer, journalist, and published author of multiple books. He specializes in many areas, including legal, divorce, and family-related topics. You can learn more about his services by visiting www.contelbradford.com.