How to Have a Balanced Family and Home Life
Having a balanced family and home life is simple but it will require some planned and dedicated effort. In my life, the people who have successfully achieved this rare status have all made a conscious, focused effort to get there.
"It will take a conscious, planned, focused effort from you if a balanced family and home life is what you want."
Over the years, I have talked to so many people about this very topic. In the article below, I have made a list of the ten best tips that have helped others as well as my own family achieve a happy, balanced family and home life.
Top 10 Tips on How to have a Balanced Family and Home Life
Start with Personal Reflection and Inventory
Before you can even begin to figure out how to have a balanced family and home life, you have to take a personal inventory. Make some time to get alone and spend some time with just yourself. Determine what sort of person you want to be. Reflect on some of the people from your past who have had a positive influence on you.
What do you want out of life? What does your life stand for? What do you want for your family? This is a time when you want to clearly identify your own personal core values and beliefs. If you're a spiritual or religious person, include those aspects into your core values.
If you are having some difficulty figuring all of this out, try doing this exercise: imagine that you have just died and there are people standing around at your funeral (I know nobody wants to think about this, but bear with me for one minute). So, as an unseen witness, what are your parents saying about you? What about your spouse and kids, what are they going to remember about you after you're gone? Are these things you want to be hearing, good things?
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Determine Specific Goals, Write Them Down
OK, so you have completed the personal inventory and now it's time to get down to brass tacks. You're going to create a plan to become that person you want to be and the first step is writing it down. That's right, write down the specific goals that will get you to where you what to go, who you want to be.
For example, if you have a hot temper (one of my former issues), then you will want to write, "find ways or learn to control temper and outbursts." Maybe that includes seeking professional help from a counselor or just learning ways to actively control your temper - you have to decide what steps to take next.
Schedule Appointments for Family Time
Time is such a peculiar thing. Sometimes it seems time moves very slowly and other times it just slips away at the speed of light. Making time for your family is not just going to happen. You make time for your family and if you're smart, you'll make sure it is quality time.
All relationships need attention and that goes double for family relationships. It's never too late to start this, even if your kids are grown and out of the house. Some of the best times with my family were on the scheduled travel or camping trips my father planned for us.
We grew up poor, my dad drove a gas truck, so cheap outings were essential. My dad was the king of "cheap." He planned a days outing for our family of 6 to trek through the Rocky Mountains with a friend of his who was a biology professor.
This professor had a way of making this seemingly boring subject very fascinating. We would walk for hours and learn about the animals and plants that resided there. From those day-long treks, some of my most treasured childhood memories of time spent with my dad were made.
Schedule time with your family - make it an unbreakable appointment
and keep it no matter what.
Connect with Something Bigger Than Yourself
Make time for you and your family to connect with the universe. For some this will be prayer, for others attending regular worship assemblies, and for others still it might mean camping out in the middle of nowhere and just looking up at the stars together, pondering life's grand adventure.
Some families plan vacations with charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity to help build houses for lower income communities. Nothing brings a family closer than serving others. In my experience, serving has always been a benefit for each of us and helped to bring us closer together.
Get Good at Saying "No"
This one is for parents who work at jobs that require lots of hours away from home. This is probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. There was a time in my life when my career took up just about every waking hour and even more. When my kids came along, I felt very strongly that my work life had to change.
This meant saying "no" to new opportunities which meant making less money, especially over the long-term. I know you may not believe me when I tell you, but learning to say "no" was the best thing that ever happened to me, and to my family. I moved away from working 100 hours a week and moved my office home to start a whole new business. I am able to spend more time with my family and I haven't looked back with one ounce of regret.
Get to Know Your Kids Well
I don't just mean know who they are, but really get to know them. We all have friends who have out-of-control kids. Our friends with these type of kids seem to have similar things going on at home - the parents simply do not know their children. If you want to get closer to your kids, you have to meet them on their level sometimes. That means watching movies or listening to music that you just loathe but your kids love. It means making time to do some of the things your kids want to do. In my relationship with my children, we have struck a very unusual balance in that we are both parent/child and friends as well.
We discuss things that they want to discuss, sometimes I will interject with a biota of wisdom or slight correction - which usually produces the standard eye-roll and exasperated sigh. I will also follow along on some of their trips to the movies or other social functions. I'm doing this less and less as they reach their mid to late teenage years. I also make time for just us - that is, I make a date with my child. This gives the opportunity for us to have some great one-on-one time.
In my experience, the parents who really don't know their kids are missing a great deal. Recently there was a story in the press about a young teen who walked into his family living room and collapsed. The mother called for an ambulance and the child was resuscitated by paramedics. When the mother was asked why her son collapsed, she had no idea. The young man told officers that he had been in his room for five days eating only junk food and soda, sleeping very little and playing a video game. I may not know a lot of things, but I know one thing - this parent did not know her child.
Find a Good Hobby
Doing something enjoyable that allows you to escape the grip of time, even for a few moments, is a rare find indeed. We don't need to discuss the benefits of what a hobby can do for you mentally, physically and emotionally - let's just say there is a great deal of evidence that says it is good for you. I have such a hobby, I paint.
Winston Churchill, a man under extreme amounts of stress also painted and here's what he had to say about his hobby: “Just to paint is great fun. The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing. Try it if you have not done so — before you die.”
Get Help if You Feel Overwhelmed
If you're not healthy, then it will be very difficult to achieve a balance family and home life. We all want to do the best we can and support our families in the best way possible. You want the best child care, the best education, the best of everything for your family. That doesn't mean you have to work your guts out, be away from home 16 hours a day and never see your kids.
You have to strike a balance between supporting your family and maintaining harmony and happiness. If you feel as if things are a bit overwhelming, that's OK for a short time. If, however, you feel continually overwhelmed you may need to seek professional help from a doctor or counselor. Do not deny there is a problem and try to wait it out in silence. If it goes on, seek help.
Keeping a Sense of Humor
I know this is the last tip, but for our family, this has been the most important of all the other tips. Maybe we are fortunate enough to all have a keen sense of humor but we just love laughing, joking and poking fun at one another. I read somewhere that laughing at someone's attempt at humor is like a salute or a sign that you respect that person.
I think there is a lot of wisdom in that statement. Besides, laughter is ,as they say, the best medicine. It's wonderful to be known as a parent who loves to have fun with their children. If that sometimes that means being childish - OK, I'm good with that. I have a Picasso quote hanging on my wall right here in my office that says, "Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you have grown up." Keep the little child inside you alive and happy.