I’m a successful middle aged man who spends a great deal of time at work to make a secure life for my family. However, my long working hours are causing some tension at home. My wife wants me to spend more time with the kids and finds it hard to understand why I can’t.
This is an issue for so many couples as they try and juggle work and family and I totally understand the issue from both sides.
Firstly, I think the pressure to perform and be successful are very great and often this leads to the sense that we must dedicate much of our lives to work, because if we don’t, that security you talk about, might slip through our fingers. And, of course, you are to be applauded for your endeavours in achieving that security. I’m sure it has taken a great deal of dedication on your part. In the past, the roles of men were perhaps far more clearly defined in terms of being responsible for providing for your family. However, things change and, increasingly, it is seen as vital that fathers take a much more equal and active role in the lives of their children.
Without a doubt, it makes such a difference to a child’s life to have their father fully involved. And might I say, I think it enriches men’s lives too. Being able to guide, have fun and teach your children how to become responsible adults are great privileges. Working as hard as you do is already going a long way to being a wonderful role model for your children. However, I can also see things from your wife’s point of view. Being absent a lot of the time due to work must make her worry about how much time they spend with you. It also might be making her feel a little resentful as she is shouldering much of the burden of parenthood as well as experiencing many of the joys on her own.
Getting the balance right isn’t always easy. The increasing pressure put on people to work long hours is well-documented and causes endless stress, but perhaps we can often get caught in a trap of believing that the more we work, the more productive we are. This isn’t often the case.
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Relaxing and spending quality time with those you love refuels your spirit and keeps your mind and body healthy, meaning you are often able to perform even better at work. So, consider this: Could you work smarter? Have a really good look at the way you work and ask yourself if you caught in a trap of working long hours because other people do the same.
Getting your priorities right is also important. In the end, the saying ‘no one on their death bed ever said they wished they’d spent more time at the office’ is worth thinking about. Family life is fundamental to your success just as much as work. So carving out quality time to spend with your family might not only alleviate the tension, but also increase your sense of well-being. And when I say quality time, I don’t mean lavishing your kids with gifts and trips out. Rather I mean giving of yourself. Talk to them, talk to your wife and get more involved in their lives. I guarantee this will pay dividends in years to come.
Russell Hemmings is a Life Coach and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, author of The Mind Diet and Active Positive Parenting. Contact Russell on +971 55286 7275 or www.russellhemmings.co.uk.