My husband and I work for ourselves. Working for yourself takes extreme self discipline and hard work. Sometimes this tends to create workaholic tendencies. When you work for yourself you don’t have a set income you can budget on every month. You have to work when the work is there. And the work tends to come in large waves meaning some months we are extremely busy and overwhelmed and other months not so much. The months we aren’t as busy we tend to keep ourselves busy looking for work and billable time. So in other words no matter what we keep ourselves busy.
With this work comes a lot of working from home. A lot. Especially for me. My husband has an office where he gets most of his work done. But since I’m a web developer/blogger/social media marketer I do my work at home unless I’m meeting with someone. Working from home may sound like the ideal situation (and it can be). The problem with working from home is that it’s hard to turn the work off.
Yesterday I was having a really productive day. Both kids had school so I met with a client and then came home and got a ton of work done. Mission accomplished. I got the kids from school. We had dinner together, played some games, did homework, read a little and it was nearly bed time. As bed time was getting close I started getting back into work mode and checking my email on my phone and the husband was still at his office getting some work done. The next thing I know my 8 year old daughter starts to get a little emotional on me. She starts by looking at our Super Mario Bros Wii game and saying she misses us playing the game together as a family. As she starts crying I realize her emotions are about more than a game.
I turn everything off, get my 3 year old occupied playing and sit down to have a talk with my daughter. Sure enough she tells me that she’s sad that mommy and daddy work all the time and are always on the computer. She keeps telling me she miss our “good times we had together”. We had a good talk and I’m so glad she opened up to me and was honest with me. I gave her a promise that her and her brother would have my undivided attention with no technology in between the time the get home from school until they go to bed.
While my time is precious and I have very little time to work, my time with my children is even more precious. I’ve also realized that I’ve been taking on too many volunteer activities and spreading myself too thin. While I really want to teach my children the importance of volunteering for organizations that are close to your heart I also want to teach them the importance of knowing when it’s ok to say no. So for now I’m going to let a couple of my volunteer jobs go as a way to make sure I’m getting myself my organized.
So here is my challenge to you. Recognize your habits. Do you find yourself spending more and more time on your computer and telling your kids to “wait a minute” when they are wanting your attention? Do you find yourself constantly checking your email, Facebook, etc from your phone? Even worse do you bring your phone with you to the dinner table? Are you eating dinner at your computer rather than eating dinner with your family? Are your kids watching more tv and spending more time on devices than interacting with the family? If you have been guilty of any of these things like I have I challenge you to have technology black out hours so that you can really spend time with your family. I challenge you to realize it’s ok to step away from work to enjoy your kids and have your kids enjoy you. It is worth it.