This is an article for parents who need advice in dealing with the day-to-day struggles of balancing the work ethic and being a better parent in the household.
Parental Balance in the Face of Adversity
by Alvin C. Romer, Columnist
Our society has rapidly become a fast chaotic ball of confusion where deadlines, mislaid priorities, and day-to-day hustle and bustle has become a never-ending quest to keep up with the Jones’, and to be well ahead of the rat race. As a result, we as individuals over extend ourselves, our families are fractured, and communities are disenfranchised shells of the village that originally raised us. Our children – the hope for the future -- are at the core of this mess, watching and being assimilated in the midst of the hub bard. Parents are perplexed and overwhelmed trying to find solutions to stem the tide. The 9/11 incidents, the pursuit of terrorists, and the war in Iran has us on alert, and it has affected our equilibrium. This essay will give insight on what can be done to balance the scales and right any wrongs that can attribute to the angst already mentioned. The main objective is to make good analogies in how to find parental balance as it concerns children and their relationship thereof.
How can parental balance be part of the mix that would address maladies that would keep us stabilized and strong in our familial environment? I will create a scenario to illustrate my points therein. To wit: A fulltime working mother with almost no free time, struggling to find a good balance for her brood knows firsthand the routine, She hopes that there’s enough time left to help the kids with their homework amid a dirty house that has been put off from the promised cleaning; the family car is in the shop and carpooling is dreaded and necessary; the boss at work is demanding the presentation to be given now, despite the need for further research; and lastly, your paycheck is short and you try to find yet another viable way to rob Peter without disturbing Paul (who’s looking for his pay). Does this sound familiar? It does to me, as I was forced during a dark period in my life adhering to all of the aforementioned elements of that scenario. All too knowingly, the scales used to harness havoc are definitely askew in this case, but all is not lost. There’s a method to the madness, even. The highest honor we pay homage to demand that we reserve time to plead our case to a higher order – using prayer to run interference for us. The age-old adage, ‘the family that prays together, stays together’, is a homily that bears truth when it’s put to use. Not only do I use it and believe in it, but also I’m of sound commitment that it pays dividends to those who persevere using faith as a solidifying base when doing so.
To suggest that creating a comfortable and realistic balance between work and family is a challenge would be an understatement, but I did it. In fact, there were no easy answers, no quick tricks, and no magic wands. Finding a balance that feels right for your family begins with identifying your priorities and applying value to them. You also have to assess goals, and relate circumstances to viable ways to take positive advantage of them. While every family is different, here are some general suggestions:
Quality time: As challenging as your schedule may be, make time everyday to connect with each child without interruptions…. take daily walks together as often as possible. Plan outings and activities where everyone would feel integral to the process.
Daily chores and errands: When children are given age-appropriate duties, they can learn responsibility and develop new skills and feelings of self-worth. In addition, they can participate in helping you manage the household. Consider joining your children in these chores.
Time management: Use time wisely. Create a realistic operational plan where any agreed upon commitments would suffice for timely following through of them. As often as you can, talk to your children on why it’s so important to be accountable and committed to following contingencies based on proficiency.
Pursue supportive networks: Like you, there are many other families who are juggling demands. When possible, talk to family and trusted friends about your challenges and your needs.
Prioritize and maintain realistic expectations: This, very well may be the more important of all of the suggestions listed here. A fine line should be drawn to keep your expectations balanced between you, your partner, and your children. There will be times when, in spite of your best intentions to cook dinner, do the laundry, or finish a work deadline, there won’t be enough hours in the day. Be flexible, patient, and maintain a sense of humor!
If these suggestions are followed to some degree if not wholeheartedly, some assemblage of order should be adherent in your life. If not, be expedient in seeking additional support. Finding a balance between work, chores, family, friends, and self is not easy…but important. With support and realistic expectations, you can create a greater sense of balance and harmony in your home and in your life. Most importantly of all, face reality. Realize that if a problem exists that tend to keep you from maintaining balance, don’t take the Lord for granted and be prayerful. Be a resourceful parent. Know that no problem was ever solved by those who ignored better judgment in doing it themselves.