Careers would fade; Fame would pass; Fortune would expire and all you would have left especially when all goes awry is family. You cannot begin to quantify the importance of the amazing gift of family because family is made in the heart.
When do you say you are accomplished in life? Is it when you are at the peak of your career or have become that big business shot? Or is it when you have built your own house, bought your cars? Or is it when you begin a family?
Different strokes for different folks right?
But are you aware that you can have it all? Yea, sure you can – the successful career, a beautiful family, a wonderful home…..the whole shebang.
The key to this is finding the balance in life.
So, I was at a friend’s place when a woman and her daughter dropped by to come pick some stuffs. The person she came to see wasn’t in and so my friend had to attend to her.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t pick the things she came for because my friend had no idea where they were. She was encouraged to come back some other time but in the course of the conversation, she did mention she was a very busy person and didn’t know when next she could stop by.
To buttress her point, her 8-years old daughter said “She’s hardly home. In fact today is the most time we have spent together”. The woman smiled guiltily as she admitted it was something she was working on – to spend more time with her daughter.
This is the story for most of us busy people. We are so involved with our careers that we often lose sight of what is most important to us – the seemingly insignificant but then most important things in life – family, friends, time to smile, time to laugh, time to be creative, time to be neighborly, time to just be.
In a movie I watched a while back, a very busy lawyer in her defense for not having a life, she said, “My life is perfect. Not every woman needs kids, a spouse or a mini-van to complete her. My friends are my family; the firm is my spouse; I wake up every morning a happy, single, successful woman wondering what else in the world I could possibly need?”
She was convinced she had it all figured out. Her sole goal was to make partner at the Law Firm where she worked and that was all that mattered until she was shown otherwise.
JUST LIKE A DREAM.
Now, what if you woke up one morning and found yourself in a new strange life? Imagine you were a successful professional at your career to the detriment of your love life; you deliberately refused to have a family – no spouse or kids.
All you had and held dear was your precious career and then one morning you woke up and found that life had changed? You now had two kids, a spouse and your dearly loved career seems not to be in the picture anymore but instead you are saddled with responsibilities you never imagined you could handle.
Instead of your neatly organised desk with files of different cases or business proposals, you now have kids screaming down your neck; diapers to change; big meals to prepare; carpools to run and the likes.
One painful thing is that you have not the slightest inkling how this happened to you so you have no one to ask and the weirdest thing is that in this your new life, you are well known and liked by your family and neighbors. In fact, you are the only person who doesn’t seem content with your life.
In all this confusion, you find a note under your pillow that says “If you want to go back to your former, seemingly “content” life, you have to make the most and best of this new life you have found yourself”…..If this was your life, what would you do?
Freak out much?
Yeaaahh!… I guess freaking out would be your first reaction and then when you realize nothing is going to change soon unless you comply, you start getting used to the life, right?
THE REALITY OF OUR EVERY DAY LIVES
The truth is often times, we get caught up in ourselves and forget what matters most. In this era of career advancement where everyone is struggling to make a name for themselves (just to be seen as important); where parents work so hard to make more money to provide a comfortable life for their families, the balance of life on the scale seems tipped over with the side of work on the high pedestal and that of family low to the ground.
People wake up as early as 4a.m every week day in a bid to beat the traffic so as to get to work on time and come back as late as 10p.m feeling really beat and just head straight for bed.
Your kids are already in bed by the time you get home. You don’t have the energy to even go through their school work or check in on them. You have just one thing on your mind – sleep.
This routine works all through the week and on weekends, while some others do more work on their computers, others still just sleep in a little while longer to make up for the tiredness they experienced all through the week.
This cuts across all genres of profession – entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, bankers, businesses of yields etc.
Thankfully, there are domestic staffs employed to keep the home running at the back-end but the truth is they can only do so much.
As important as money is in running the affairs of our day-to-day lives, there are more important things that are not to be taken for granted or considered less important and one of such is family.
We all want to be successful; we want to be people of value; we all want to maximize our potentials and contribute our quota to the development of society but all these shouldn’t be accomplished at the detriment of family.
The society begins with the family. It is formed from the small but most important units called FAMILY.
Let’s pause a while in this our rat race and hunt for fame and fortune and think this through…
You do realize that the search for money is an ever continuous one because our needs would always increase.
As humans, our desires are insatiable and there are things we would always crave for as we progress in life and if we do not stop to think, we may lose track of so much time that we wouldn’t even begin to comprehend how fast life has been.
We may be all too old and wrinkled and it would be too late to realize that all this time, we never really created any beautiful memories out of life.
Now, take a break for a moment and look at your life…..look at your family.
When last did you have a family vacation? When last did you all eat together as a family? When last did you celebrate, I mean actually celebrate your kid’s or spouse’s birthday?
Look at your spouse and kids. I mean, really look at them and not past them. Tap into the conscious love you feel for them and let that envelop you in the moment. These people you look at now are your real treasures and they hold the most value to you.
DON’T TRADE THEM FOR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD.
YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR GIFT
Spend time with your kids. Build a relationship with them. Do not be their parents and provider only…be their friends, someone they can talk to and confide in. Help them with their home works.
Be actively involved in their lives – go for their music concerts; go for their football matches; be there for them at every opportunity they get to live out their talents. Show interests in their hobbies, activities, likes, dislikes. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.
Do not leave these tasks to the domestic staffs. No matter how helpful they are, they are not meant to take your roles as parents of these kids. You are not merely an ATM machine whose job is to work, work and do more work so you provide money for the bills to be paid.
Since the arrival of your kids into your life, your priorities changed and your kids take prominence. They are your responsibilities. Be their friends and not just parents. Only then can they trust you to let them into their world rather than see you as an autocratic boss that just dictates to them.
Walk the talk of love you profess to them. Be there for them. Help them grow to become people of virtues; people of integrity. Contrary to what you might think, there isn’t time because your kids grow up so fast.
YOUR ETERNAL PLUS ONE
Can you remember that special day you said “I do” to each other? Can you remember how beautiful she looked as she walked down the aisle to you? Can you remember how handsome and dashing he looked as he just stood there in front, waiting for you to come meet him? Can you remember feeling like the luckiest person in the world to have the love of such a beautiful queen? To have the love of such a dashing Prince Charming?
Where did all this love go? And do not even say, “Life happened”.
Life always happens and sometimes it spins out of control but we are the pilots of our own affairs and so we can direct things how we want them.
Make out time for your significant other. Never let your relationship/marriage run stale or grow cold all because you both are too busy for each other. Your love life shouldn’t be “Once upon a time”.
Leave the work talk in the office and come home to enjoy yourselves and each other’s company. Even if you must discuss work, let it be done leisurely when you are telling each other about your day not burying your heads in some more work.
Go on dinner dates even if you are 20 years in the married life. Surprise each other with gifts and treats every other time. Make sacrifices for each other after all you are now a “we” and no more a “me”. Shower each other with love and affection. You can never be too busy to forget how to show love to each other.
The chase doesn’t stop after you get married. Every day of your married life should be you getting up and falling in love with each other all over again. Never lose sight of why you love each other and fell in love with each other in the first place.
You have to keep the magic alive in your marriage; in your home and this can only be done the moment you understand the importance of family…..the importance of each other.
Learn to appreciate each other. Stop with the nagging and engage in heartfelt discussions. Learn to not only listen to each other but to act also. Now, this is COMMITMENT. This is DEDICATION.
The day you made those vows and declaration of love before God and the world, you became one. Love each other and help each other overcome each other’s shortcomings. Promote each other’s strengths and not weaknesses.
You are meant to find shelter and solace in each other’s arms and not be the one to cause the sad tears to flow constantly down each other’s cheeks or jab each other’s hearts.
Share your problems; discuss your worries; unburden your heart to each other and don’t bottle things up. You are each other’s pillar of strength. Complement each other even when she is without makeup or he is covered in sweat after fixing that broken stereo or tap faucet or generator.
The love you feel for each other is meant to supersede physical beauty instead it is meant to be felt strongly from the heart.
Be thankful for each other and appreciate all the beautiful memories you have created. Be thankful for the ups and downs, the sad and happy moments, and the teary and joyful times. Without these, you wouldn’t be the strong team you are today.
Be proud of each other and your achievements. Celebrate each other every time you get. You are each other’s priceless gifts.
FAMILY IS YOUR REAL INVESTMENT.
At the end of the day, work is just work and would pass. Family is what remains. Family is the one true thing you have. Give it priority. Give it your all. Find the balance between your work life and family life. Don’t get it wrong – Career is great. No one wants to be a liability but never choose your career at the detriment of your family.
Family is your real investment.
Find the balance between both worlds – career and family and pitch your tent there. Trust me when I say, you can indeed have the best of both worlds.
There is always time for family if you create it. Be part of the change geared towards marrying career and family lives. No side has to suffer but both can get the best of your attention.
It all entails proper planning and time management. Set your priorities straight. Utilize your time wisely. If it would help, make use of a daily planner which will help you itemize your activities for the day.
Your kids are the reason you work your butt off. Let them see you and learn from you. Do not be an absentee parent who thinks money covers all. Money can only do so much but can never make up for your love or presence in their lives.
I hope you found this an interesting read.
So in what ways have you been able to balance your career and family lives?