In the header picture of this post, I am trying to write. With two boys, hanging on my arms and asking for my attention, the simple task of typing on a keyboard is almost impossible. I often feel that my plans conflict with my children’s plans.
Can you identify with this struggle? You want to give your children or spouse the attention they deserve, but you also need to finish that___.
My work versus family responsibilities is fighting multiple rounds in my house during this phase of my life.
Time alone to write is priceless. When I’m at home, the kids often want every ounce of my attention. If I sit down, the boys or my daughter will climb on my lap. When I’m not sitting, they are talking to me, asking for food, or insisting that I take them outside to play.
My children are the reason why my 4 am alarm cannot be ignored!
My parents and other older adults tell me to cherish these moments. They make comments such as, “they grow up fast.” I’ve also heard, “there will come a day when you will miss receiving attention from your children.” I do believe in mindful parenting and appreciating each opportunity as a blessing. Nonetheless, sometimes a brother just needs a break!
How do you set boundaries in your home to make progress on your goals and not abandon family responsibilities? I read a blog piece this week that suggests we pause whatever tasks we are working on to spend time with our families. With regards to writers, the author said, it’s ok not to write and giving up a few words in exchange for time with loved ones.
Dedicating your job for work and home for the family is possible. I haven't figured out how to do this quite yet, but it makes sense! Having allocated spaces for professional and personal duties is important.
I have work and home offices. Early mornings at home and arrivals to the office are critical steps for me in getting things done.
If you have creative projects or entrepreneurial interests and a family, you will also need to carve out a consistent time that helps you produce your best work. You may function better at night, so setting aside some time before going to bed is a critical move toward achieving your goals. Great men of the past have created systems that support their goals and so can you!
This week, I reread James Weldon Johnson’s book, The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. I wondered about his challenges as a father, husband, writer, and musician. He didn’t get married and have children until later in life, but I am sure he faced similar situations with regards to his familial responsibilities and aspirations. Johnson lived a full life that included living abroad and making several significant contributions to the arts.
Through Johnson and the examples of other men, I know it is possible to explore the depths of my creativity and work in partnership with my wife at home. Authentic manhood includes being true to yourself while consistently looking to improve.
How will you improve as a father, husband, or leader today? Let’s strive to be better about work and life integration. Leave me a comment about one aspect of your life you are looking to improve, and I will respond!