Life for Charles was not smooth right from childhood. His father was alcoholic and rarely contributed to the family’s welfare. His mother was a teacher in a local school and she doubled up as a small scale farmer.
Charles had a dream of becoming an engineer one day. He imagined himself building roads and bridges.
The Wake-up Call
Settling down to life as a public service vehicle driver was not a walk in the park. He worked long hours and was only free on Sundays. The challenges increased after he married.
Five years into the marriage, they had been blessed with two young sons. He had become more of a stranger to the family. He only had Sundays to spend with his wife and children. He would accompany them to the Sunday service then catch up with sleep in the afternoons, having been deprived of sleep the entire week.
One day the public service vehicle he drove broke down, forcing him to go home earlier than normal. He found the door to his house locked. He called his wife’s cell phone and it was off. He had not carried a spare key since he always found his wife at home. He was forced to wait outside not knowing where his wife and kids were.
His wife arrived home at around 8.00 p.m. and was surprised to find him waiting outside, since the earliest he ever got home was 9.00 p.m. She went to one of the neighbor’s houses and collected the children, who were already asleep.
Any effort to discuss the issue with his wife led to more tension between them. She would go quiet on him for several days. Peace of mind eluded him and he made up his mind that he would work on rebuilding his marriage. He took two days off to spend time with his family.
Rekindling The Spark in The Marriage
Charles made up his mind that his family was too important to lose. He opted not to be working over the weekends so that he could spend time with his family.
The growth in the business encouraged Charles and he decided to help his wife in its expansion. They worked together to open a business page on Facebook as well as an Instagram account. He helped her to take photos of every dish she prepared, which they posted on Instagram and Facebook.
Too Busy For The Family
I do come across cases of people who are too busy for their families. They lack balance in life, with their work and other activities outside the home taking up most of their time.
I say it time and again that a woman does not get married because she was sleeping outside on pavements and eating from garbage heaps such that she was looking for someone to meet her basic needs.
Man easily get into this trap of lacking the work-life balance and end up neglecting their families as they work hard to provide. It also does happen to some women especially those who have demanding jobs.
A vacuum that is left by a parent who is too busy for the family does impact children’s lives negatively too. Children need supervision, guidance and role modelling and when a parent neglects to be present in their lives, they too can end up filling that vacuum with something or someone else, which can have disastrous results. Some children fall into bad company and end up in habits such as crime or substance abuse.
Some people believe that people who have a lot of money are unhappy and unfulfilled in their lives, that their lives revolves around chasing money. That is not necessarily true. It is not about either having much money or not but about living a balanced life.
Create Work-Life Balance in 5 Simple Steps
1. Take Care of Yourself
It is rather unfortunate that human beings tend to take care of items they buy such as cars, computers, houses and phones; more than they take care of their bodies. Probably it is because the body is given to us for free so we do not realize it’s true worth.
Eat healthy every day. A healthy diet will give you the energy you need to be productive and also keep you in a good mood. Incorporate physical activity into your daily activities. This will keep your body functioning properly and also help your mood.
2. Set Clear Goals for Your Life
Begin with the end in mind. What kind of life do you want to have? Do you want to get married? Get children? What sort of lifestyle do you want for your family? Is family important to you or is your career all that matters? What do you want to achieve in life? Do you want to contribute to society? How will you achieve that? Will you volunteer? What is important to you? Clarity helps with prioritizing.
3. Do Not Depend on One Stream of Income
A job rarely ever pays enough for one’s needs. Some push themselves harder and harder in an effort to earn something extra. A good example is the public service driver who will put in more and more hours every day in an effort to earn more.
Be open minded when it comes to work and the way you earn income. Learn new things constantly, whether they are related to your job or not.
4. Plan Carefully
Unemployment has hit an all time high, putting many in a point of desperation to accept and hold on to whatever jobs come their way whether they are satisfying or not. A fulfilled person is likely to make a supportive spouse and parent, so job satisfaction does have an impact on the family life.
5. Do Not Be a Lone Ranger
The entire burden of providing for your family does not need to fall on your shoulders. Look around at the people around you. There are skills and talents that people around you bring on board and that can free some time for you if harnessed.
Look creatively at all the resources at your disposal including human resources. Create a strong support network for yourself. Do not give people around you the impression that you can handle everything.
Living a balanced life is important for long term fulfillment and well being. It is important to assess your life and be honest with yourself how well you are doing in terms of balance. Make a conscious decision to attain work-life balance. Life is not all work.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter, life coach, mentor, motivational speaker, freelancer and blogger.