Lately I have been thinking a lot about work-life balance. My wife is due with our second child a week or so after our first turns two, less than three weeks away. Then I read this blog entry by Guy Kawasaki, the former Mac evangelist, venture capitalist and blogger, that both amused and scared me. You can read the article here.
One of my great fears is that my kids are going to grow up while I work. I have entire years running Infinity Softworks that I don’t remember. But now the stakes are higher. I miss them growing up and they will either 1) spend their life in therapy because their father ignored them or 2) kill and rob people, ending up like some movie thug, because their dad wasn’t actively involved in their childhoods. An absentee father, they will tell the judge, made us do it — the robbery, the drugs, all of it.
At the same time, I am the sole income earner in the family as my wife stays home with the kids. She’s good at it and has tons of training. She was a certified teacher and taught pre-K through 1st grade for years. So how can I afford not to work as much as possible? Leaving my family on the streets is as bad as the whole drugs and robbery thing.
Conflicted, you say? Definitely. So my post today wasn’t an answer to the title; it actually is a question, albeit maybe a rhetorical one. I have been thinking about this for months now, coming to no conclusions.
I have heard from much wiser people than me that recognizing the fact that there is this issue is half the battle. Well, I recognize it. Now… what to do about it?
First of all, good for you for even having these thoughts! As you said, many people don’t even make it to the step of worrying about spending time with their kids.
It is possible to not let your business take over you life if that’s what you want. You say “how can you afford not to work as much as possible” but that begs the question: how much money is enough? What are your goals and priorities? I can’t believe you are faced with work 24/7 or live on the streets. Is there possibly a happy medium? Are the stakes higher now because of the family or because of something in the business?
I was able – as a mom – to build a mutli-million dollar IT business and spend time with my kids so I know it is possible. We had great profit margins, too. One of the keys is to hire really smart people and have them helping you in this. It doesn’t have to be ALL YOU. In fact, my biggest accomplishment was to be the most operationally-expendable person in my company! Think of ways you can work smarter, not harder. When you have your priorities in the right order and then figure out a way to make it all work from there, you’ll find the way!
Good luck and keep asking the tough questions…it’ll eventually lead you to answers!
Julie Lenzer Kirk
Author, “The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business”
We agree with Julie – this CAN happen for you…no ands, ifs, or buts. We are both mothers with our own business and have interacted with thousands of people on issues like this. Managing personal life with professional life can be very daunting, but it is definitely possible – especially in today’s day and age.
So your question is “What do I do about this conflict I’m having?” Our answer would be to be sure you’re living a ROWE lifestyle. ROWE stands for Results-Only Work Environment and the thousands of people we mentioned above are all living this way now…and living the lives they want to live. Those with kids have never been happier.
Your life awaits…seize the day.
Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson
Creators of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)
Authors, “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It”