Your family needs you to be the best that you can be!
Parenting and connecting is very different now. When I was growing up, most of the time we lived with my grandparents, where both my parents worked and our grandparents would be helping out supervising on the home front, i.e. food, child care and household chores etc.
When we started our family in Australia, my husband and I were both working; however, I reduced my working hours to part time, juggling work and looking after my children. I know how it was, how it felt and how challenging it had been, but we did our best and focused on being the best parents we knew how for our children. Yet now with more and more families comprising of single parents or two working parents, with less support on the home front, both emotionally and physically, parenting can be a huge challenge for any growing family.
I understand how tired you can be when you leave your office to head home, even if you have one spouse / someone helping out at home. I understand the stress of parenting at home and managing at work.
For those working spouses:
Your staying-at-home spouse may need your support at home and your children may need your attention. And if you had a bad day at work, your frustrations, your energy and your focus may not be with the children or family, but still be at work….When you are stressed or busy at work, it is easy to view spending time with your family as another "job" or "obligation", rather than something that brings you joy and pleasure, and something that you wake up for every morning for.
For the stay-at-home spouse, the feelings are mutual. When you are stressed with the demands of the home and children, the feeling of lack of support etc, family things can feel like a chore.
When you are stressed and tired, your children, no matter how young they are, will feel the lack of connections and that you are not being emotionally available. Your children may feel bad about themselves, as they may not understand that you are preoccupied with your work or other issues; they may assume that you are not interested in them. As for your spouse, you may not be able to provide her or him with the support they were hoping for…
Your children need you to be emotionally available
Your children need your attention and focus because they love you, and would like to share their day with you. Also your child needs to know that they are loved and cherished unconditionally, not only when you have the time.
When a child feels loved and safe to be themselves, only then they will thrive in life.
So how do you make the switch from office/work and how to avoid bringing work stress home?
- Be conscious. Before you leave for the office, set your intentions of being present when you arrive home, and be fully engaged with what's happening at home.
- Try not take work home unless you have to.
- When you are at home, incorporate a ritual that you normally do when you step into the home. For example, playing with your kids, asking about their day, taking them out for a play or walk etc., when you play, you will feel much more relaxed, happier and more connected with your children.
Having said all the above, we have to be realistic as well. There will be times when you have to stay back at work, you will experience one of those bad days so that switching your mindset is not as easy as you wanted. Be aware of your situation, honestly explain the situation to your family , and it would be helpful if you could excuse yourself rather than taking out your frustration on the family.
Your family needs you to be the best that you can be. Remember, your "family is the most important thing in the world" Princess Diana.
Have a fun day with your family.