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Are you All in or do you Chip in

30 years ago it was common place in a heterosexual relationship for the female to do all the housework, cooking and parenting of the children. The male was responsible for earning money and mowing the lawns.

Often the male also took on the role of disciplinarian and that is why many baby-boomer men lacked connection to their fathers and even resented them.

Things have changed “thankfully” it’s no longer about what is the male or female role, it’s about partnership and working together so each person equally shares the load for running the family.

Listening to many mums, they still feel the inequality of parenting and household duties and in some cases are over-whelmed by it, causing tension within the relationship.

Some dads say they are busy working, sometimes travelling away and they think that chipping in is ok?  I’m always amazed and feel sorry for these dads as they don’t realise how much they miss out on.  Are these dads tired, lazy or do they have their fathers’ DNA engrained in them? probably a bit of all it?  I think could be a learned habit from their upbringing!

I remember my partner said to me once “Show me a man that is ‘All In’ around the house and I’ll show you a man that is having sex…an interesting thought ? is it true guys?

When I was a single dad and sharing responsibility of my daughter 50/50, I experienced first hand everything required to run a functional home.  I combined work and nurtured all the needs of my child all at the same time, it’s not easy but the benefits out-way the hard work.  It’s constant, often starting as soon as the kids open their eyes (and sometimes before).

Being organised, having a system and routine helps to reduce the stress in running a functional home.  The less you have to think about when and what needs doing the easier it will be to juggle kids, home and work.  No one succeeds if you don’t give it your best effort, make it something that you want to master.  Master the shopping, master the cooking, master the cleaning, master the nurturing of your child.  It can be all done with little stress if you give into it and never be wishing you were somewhere else or out with your mates.

Having a partner and sharing the household jobs and parenting is much easier than having to do it all by yourself.  Don’t make your partner feel like a single parent. Be an ‘All In’ dad and make life great for all of you.  The rewards are fantastic and you will have a much happier relationship and family life will be more relaxing.

Relationship benefits from being an All In dad.

  • love
  • more sex
  • more fun
  • feel valued
  • productive
  • reduced stress
  • less arguments
  • higher self esteem
  • a sense of purpose
  • emotional support
  • feeling appreciated
  • time with each other
  • time for your hobbies
  • better communication
  • better shared experiences
  • feeling confident and secure
  • become a better version of yourself
  • Feel part of the whole family and something bigger

How many Dads are All In or do you Chip In – answer the quiz below…

Health and fitness for Dads in the new COVID world

Let’s face it fellas, the last 18 months have been tough.  Bloody tough.  Who thought that the world would be where we are at right now just 18 months ago?  Whilst lockdowns, self-isolation, quarantine have all become the vernacular, we have had to adjust massively, and above all else, be f**cking resilient.  If resiliency was not something that came to you easily, boy you have had a lesson on it over the last year.  

With our health and fitness, it’s something that should ideally be entrenched in our daily lives and done regularly across the week, but the COVID pandemic has either a) destroyed all previous healthy habits with the closure of gyms, pools and other fitness facilities or b) firmly cemented the fact that there is no way to get started on a fitness journey right now.  A tough place to be.  Thankfully, there is some hope, as we have seen the fitness industry embrace technology with things like virtual classes via zoom, in order keep clients healthy and active and, of course, stay in business themselves.

One thing is for sure in this uncertain world, COVID doesn’t look like its going away anytime soon. So, the sooner we establish what our exercise patterns look like in a lockdown and also out of a lockdown, is the sooner we alleviate the stress of missing workouts, gym closures and declines in our physical (and mental) well-being.  But, for those Dads who haven’t been able to even start, I am here to provide some hope that there is a way to improve their physical wellbeing during this pandemic.  

But how? I hear you say.  Dads are pressed for time, they face work commitments, home schooling, household chores, closed gyms and lockdowns which make it next to impossible to exercise.  Well, no, I didn’t say it was easy, but there ARE ways to tackle this, and in extreme situations (like say, during a pandemic with lockdowns), it needs a bit more of a thought-out approach, but it’s still possible to really take back control of your health.

What I mean by this is we need to start by drilling down on what you want to achieve from your health, understanding the struggles and pressures of being a busy father and develop a plan that takes into the current COVID climate and parenting responsibilities.  It should be complementary to your life and not against it.

“Oh man, that sound like a lot of work!” Well, it can be, but now we give rise to the online fitness coach who can guide clients through these stages in order to achieve their ultimate success – no matter where they live.  In my online fitness coaching business, the scenario planning component and what to do when lockdowns hit, are key in the current environment and ensures Dads are prepared for anything.  It alleviates stress and compliments their lifestyle, as opposed to turning it upside down and adding in another stress when the world is already in chaos.

Steven Dornik_Health and Fitness CoachWhat success looks like for each individual is different, hence all approaches need to be different.  But outcomes are much more effective than a traditional in-person trainer who is often seen just once a week, when they take the Dad through his exercise program.  Once through this process, we don’t want to see clients coming back as we’ve built the psychology and behaviours foundationally in the person’s psyche.  So they are not reliant on us, anyone else or life circumstances to keep their health and fitness habits up.  They leave self-sufficient, more educated and health and fitness is firmly part of their lives in a COVID world or not.  Sometimes Dads just need a little bit of help to break old thought and behaviour patterns and establish new ones.  And it’s important now, more than ever, to reach out for that type of help.

If you’d like to get in touch, Steven Dornik is a fitness coach at Peak State Health and Fitness, who specifically focuses on helping Dads rediscover their health and fitness, details below.

Steve Dornik
Health and Fitness Coach
Certificate IV – Fitness, 8 x Ironman

Peak State Health and Fitness
Coaching enquiries: mob: 0400 886 119



Dads home office hacks

We have all been thrown into working from home (some call it remote) and it can be the best thing that has happened to us in our career or is it something we need to get used to?

Having more time on our hands is a gift, the time saved travelling to and from the office can give us a couple of hours back in our day. How are you using that extra time? using it to sleep in, are you getting up to exercise now you have some extra time, enjoying a longer breakfast or starting your workday earlier? Do you get dressed or stay in your PJ’s all day 🙂 All of the above is normal and you need to do what works for you.

By having that extra time on your hands and all that flexibility can be too much for some, it can make you unproductive. Let’s not discount the negative effects all that time on your own can have on your mental health. How are you looking after yourself and maintaining a positive mental attitude?

For Dads at home with the kids, how’s that working? Are you loving the extra time with your kids and getting to know them a lot better? It can take intentional efforts to balance the needs of your kids and the demands of your workday when you are all at home together.

Lets look at how you can work from home successfully

Make time for getting some fresh air and reduce cabin fever.
Start the day off with a walk, walk again around lunchtime and then again at the end of the day. This will help blow out any cobwebs, clear your head and reset.

Have a dedicated area set up as your office.
I have my office outside in an under-cover balcony. I purchased a outdoor radiator for warmth, a camp table for my desk. If you are lucky enough to have a desk/table inside? Its a good idea to set up two screens and keep your desk free of clutter. Buy a telephone/ computer headset so you can plug in for zoom meetings or connect into your smart phone enabling you to be hands free.

Stay in the same schedule as you would at work.
Meaning, get up, shower and get dressed. Its the Pajama thing that can dampen your self image. Sit down at your computer at the same time you would if you were at work, Take a break, have lunch and knock off at the same time each day. Routine is not just for kids.

Use video chats where-ever possible.
Connection is everything. We are used to seeing our colleagues more often in and around the office. That break in connection can be isolating, replace it with video conferencing when ever possible, its amazing the dfference it makes. There are lots of ways to use video meetings, some people use zoom, Facebook messenger, Teams, whatsapp and skype to name a few but there are plenty more…

Be organised with what you want to accomplish today and the week.
A daily to-do list and weekly goals is essential for some who can be easily distracted. Use your diary to place the tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. Work on the big one first, if you have ever read the book “East the Frog” will understand this. The trick is to write down plenty of things you want to accomplish and be busy!

Get dressed
I mentioned earlier the Pajama’s or trackie dacks should be avoided for your preferred work-wear. You have to dress for performance and effectiveness and be in the right mind set. Pajamas are for sleeping…right? Its also been mentioned that at the end of the day you should change again or put on a different shirt. If we don’t our home becomes our all consuming office rather than our home.

Try not to snack all day.
Having a pantry at your finger tips or within a few steps is very tempting. Snacking all day is a sure way to put on weight. Stay busy and enjoy your Breakfast, lunch and dinner with water in between. You will get used to it and your body will thank you.

Headphones with a mic will be your best friend.
If you can make them noise cancelling even better but just headphones to plug into your computer and smart phone will keep your hands free for working, if you’re an online gamer you will understand this completely.. I needed to buy an adapter to connect to my iPhone and then take it off to plug into my computer. Best home office purchase I have made aside from my 2nd screen.

Friends and family need to know you are working.
Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are 100% available to your friends and family. They need to know you’re working, so set some time limits and catch up on your breaks? If you have small children its nearly impossible, yet set them up with their own work station and get all the craft, coloured pencils and give them a daily project like The Family Tree which we recently blogged about and let them know you’ll check their work on your break 🙂

Work with a colleague on mute.
Have power sessions and dedicate time to tasks i.e. dedicate a 1 hour block to focus on any task, like, writing a report, planning for your team, calling prospects to make appointments, customer follow up calls etc. But here’s the twist, video in a colleague who wants to focus also for a couple of hours on their own task – and mute the mic! you can work like in the same office but on your own project – can see each other working but can not hear them… I love this!!

Coping strategies to keep you and your family sane…

Talk to people

Remember to pick up the phone and ring people.  We still need to hear the sound of other people’s voices.  Ring at least one person a day, whether it’s work colleague or personal friend.  Ring someone and discuss what’s happening for you and how you’ve been affected.  Listen to them also, hear their experiences, compare and discuss.  Understand that while we are all going through this together, every individual is having their own experiences at the same time.
Make it a habit to ring at least one person each day.

Managing Life
Life hasn’t stopped.  It certainly has changed, but life is still going on.  Babies need to be born, people need to be educated and the whole administration part of life continues to need attention.  Try and stay on top of your responsibilities and if you can’t ask for help.  It’s alright not to be alright.

Back to basics with Board games, art, hobbies
Dig out old games and have a think about projects you were inspired about in the past.  Bring out the artist in you, whether it’s piano, paint or playdoh, you now some to time spend on an old or new project.

Manage your exposure to media
on’t spend too much time watching or listening to the news or reports on the situation.  Getting an update in the morning, a small amount of news during the day and another update in the evening is all that’s needed.  If you spend too much time watching those reports, there is potential for everything seem worse that it really is.

These are strange and unprecedented times and while we need to know what is happening and stay up to date, we also need to look out for ourselves. 

Talk about any changes that you’re feeling
Be aware of your moods, attitudes and outlook at this time.  Are these changing for you and who do you talk to about these changes?

If you don’t have anyone that you talk to about this already, read the above paragraph on phone calls and think who in your circle of family, friends or colleagues could you talk to about what’s challenging you at the moment.

If you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else, you can always ring lifeline on 13 11 14   24/7/365 – Always there to talk.

Thank you to Malcolm Guy
M. 0403 583 927 
Malcolm is a call center supervisor with Lifeline and a trained Mediator. Malcolm helps individuals and couples with mediation, parenting plans and will help prepare you for difficult conversations. Please reach out to Malcolm directly by the contacts details above.

Your Dream

Live-Your-Dream with no regretsEver thought of becoming a builder; personal trainer; becoming a better friend or father; running a marathon; or writing a book?

We all have dreams but too few of us have the faith or fortitude to see them through. Committing to realizing your dream can often be so daunting we relinquish the idea to fantasy – never living our dreams at all. They become the regrets and “what ifs?” of our lives.

Is it the thought “I might fail”, or worse “I might succeed”? Is it you feel you’ve left everything a little too late? Have you procrastinated around your dream? Have your friends, family and loved ones dismissed you and your ideas and dreams as mere fancy? Have you been bullied or manipulated into thinking other people’s opinions are correct? Or is it that you simply doubt your worth and ability? What does your heart tell you? Have you just quit?

The truth is its okay to be frightened. The truth is (from time to time) people will dismiss you and pull you down particularly if you want to stretch yourself spiritually, physically, and intellectually. The truth is its likely you do this to yourself as well. The truth is it’s your dream and no one else’s so it’s likely you will be in it alone.

More than anything ever created, any disease, any famine, or violence. More than any war or any abuse; fear has done more to damage people’s lives (and leaves in its wake mountains of despair and destruction) than any other spiritual or physical instrument imaginable.

Unfulfilled lives cause people to become lost, bitter, and barren.

So how do we win? How do we overcome negative outside forces and our own self-loathing? How do we live a life without regret?

At church, at school, through our parents (if you were blessed), in books, and at motivational meetings each of us has likely to have heard the message “we’re all capable of accomplishing incredible things”.

“Your life, your perfect life is waiting for you.” “The life you want to live, the life you dream of is available to each and every one of us right now!”

I expect the evidence around you tells a different story. Evidence of bad blood between brothers, closed hearts, unrequited love, hopeful careers fallen by the wayside, and lovers and children you don’t know how to communicate with anymore. Resentments unforgiven, a mortgage hanging around your neck, an addiction tearing at your soul, the darkest loneliness, or perhaps it’s as simple as a lie you told your boss that won’t let you sleep at night – the list is endless isn’t it?

So what is the truth? Is the good life merely an un-kept promise? A fable? Something that’s exclusively available to everyone else except you?

Fear some say, is “false evidence appearing real”. Yet if you’ve ever felt fear at any depth you’ll know it doesn’t feel false, it’s about as real as it gets.

The dictionary says fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain whether the threat is real or imagined.”

Is there more to fear than our own imaginings? I expect so, because of course there is the seen and the unseen. It is my personal belief that fear, procrastination, and dark imaginings don’t just come from within, they also come from with-out. However, fear does come in many forms, and regardless of the type it insidiously sneaks in to ruin any chance of our achieving our true selves.

I can’t promise you that overcoming fear will suddenly catapult you into a new and grand life, accelerate your sales, or get you the relationship you’ve been dreaming of, but I can promise you peace-of-mind, and perhaps a wiser heart. And for some, this alone would be an amazing life to live, yes?

The biggest problem with self-imposed fear is that it isn’t probably real, but it is a natural reaction to things we perceive as painful or challenging. The trick in overcoming this type of fear is to learn how to remain in the moment. Don’t live in the past or the future, each only exists in our imaginings. If you live in the ‘now’ your fear will be diminished because most self-ignited fear is about something that happened to us years ago, or something we fantasize might happen in the future.

Expect the worst, and the worst is likely to come. Expect the best (not second best) and something better will indeed come. I’ve written much about ‘action and courage’ over the years, two tools that will help you overcome your fears. But its action that’s key.

Success at life is a result of getting in the game. You cannot win by standing on the sidelines watching everyone else play. The fear of rejection, confrontation, loss, and humiliation all keep us from living, and help us build a large pile of regrets. Of course participation in life is not a perfect recipe, there is always the risk things will not go as planned. But that’s the game right?

A dear friend of mine wrote:

Some people spend all of their lives saying “If only”, “I could have”, and “I should have”; but then there is you and me. The ones who dare to jump into the fire, the ones who stand up for one more round with the taste of blood in our mouths.

The ones, who don’t quit, who don’t betray (ourselves or others); and in this resilience find the only reward there is. A life well lived.

Thank you to Michael Tate for this inspiring story.To learn more about Michael, click on his name and it will take you to his LinkedIn profile page.

How To Juggle Parenthood With A FIFO Mining Job

fifo mining jobsThere’s no doubt the Fly In Fly Out lifestyle is tough on the families of mining workers. Ever since the 1980’s, Australian gas, oil and mining operation staff are required to fly out to remote locations to work ten to fourteen hour shifts for two to six weeks at a time. While the financial gains from this type of work are generous, the long term effects on individuals, couples and especially families are difficult to ignore.

 It’s safe to say that workers and their families teeter precariously between two completely different worlds. However, maintaining a balance for the sake of your family, your relationship and for yourself is imperative to surviving through those challenging times. Here’s some tips for maintaining that balance with a FIFO Mining Job.

Join A Support Group

Just like Mothers group or Book reading groups, there’s one for FIFO families as well. One of the biggest is FIFO Families. This group is targeted towards the partners of FIFO workers and provides a plethora of services and support.  There’s groups in every state who meet weekly at the local park, arrange school/kindy drop offs, exercise together, swap time (look after each other’s kids so you can do those things you want) and share parenting tips.

Make The Most Of Your Time Together

Parenthood is hard work and although being home together isn’t always peaches and cream, try to organise things to do as a family unit. Make it something to look forward to. It will boost family moral and take the focus off the fact that your partner will eventually have to return to work.

Keep The Lines Of Communication Open

Children will face emotional distress spending time looking forward to Mum or Dad’s return and then having to say goodbye again. This is especially hard when they may not have been separated for prolonged periods of time. Being open and honest with your children will help them to understand why Mum or Dad have to leave. Melanie Hearse from Essential Baby writes “Never say ‘Daddy is leaving again’ I say ‘Daddy is off to work’, and show them where he is on a map.”

Set Goals

Setting goals is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future. By writing down your goals in a visible place you’ll feel an overwhelming motivation to turn your vision of this future into reality. Your goals can be varied either focusing on family, self-improvement, professional growth or relationships. For example, your goals could be that you want to take at least one hour of “me time” a week or work towards finishing a TAFE course. Or it could be that you want to deposit $50 – $100 a week into a savings account for a family holiday.

Have A Routine

Create a realistic routine that you know can easily be stuck to when your partner is home. This might be negotiating strict bed times, planning meals ahead of time or ensuring your children complete their chores.

Keep A Calendar

As simple as this sounds, utilizing a calendar will help you keep on top of upcoming events, bill payments, school holidays, appointments, birthdays and most importantly, your partners work schedule.  You can also keep an online version of your calendar via Google Calendar that your partner will be able to access and add too from their work site.

Whilst the fly in fly out arrangement isn’t always ideal, staying organised and seeking support will help make the changes to your new lifestyle more manageable.

Men At Work


The 100% Project is a not for profit organisation that wants to see 
100 percent of Australia’s leadership talent, female and male, equally contributing to our social and economic future. We exist because women are under-represented on most Boards and in the senior management teams of most Australian organisations.

We have to engage men if we are to achieve meaningful change – because men run most of the businesses and organisations where change is required and organisational culture is generally defined in male terms.

But what do men actually think about their role at work and at home?

Do they want the work-life balance more often seen as something women want? Do they feel they can take advantage of flexible working? And if they don’t, will women continue to miss out on their fair share of senior positions?

These are questions The 100% Project set out to explore in its latest research report, ‘Men at Work: What they want and why it matters for women’ published in September 2011.

Here’s what we found:
Men want to spend time and energy on their family life
75 percent of men surveyed expect to devote a significant amount of their time and energy to rearing their children.

And family is more important to them than their career
68 percent of men are willing to accept costs to other areas of their life so they can be involved in the day-to-day care of their children.

They want a rewarding career – but they won’t sacrifice everything for it
83 percent of men expect to devote significant time to building their career – but only 29 percent of men expect to make as many sacrifices as necessary to advance their career.

Men want work-life balance – and say their life as a whole is better if they get it
62 percent of men who are satisfied with their life as a whole agree that their work-life balance is right for their current situation. Only 14 percent of men who are not satisfied with their life think that their work-life balance is right.


They work harder if their employer encourages work/family balance
– even if they themselves don’t take advantage of work/life balance programs 79 percent of men who say they are engaged at work agree that their employer encourages employees to strike a balance between their work and family lives. Only 49 percent of non-engaged men agree with the same statement.

Men don’t ask for greater work-life balance, even if they have children, because they think asking will harm their career
Only 39 percent of men have asked for greater work-life balance at some time in their career. The top reasons for this include the belief that such a request would have negative effects on their career and that employers look negatively on employees who take advantage of work-life balance initiatives.

And women pay the price because men aren’t getting what they want
The women we surveyed are just as committed to their careers as men. But if men don’t feel they can request the work-life balance they want, then women will continue to carry most of the burden of maintaining a home and raising the children.

As they can’t share this burden, more women than men will continue to ask for flexible working arrangements such as part-time work.
This will perpetuate the inaccurate view that these initiatives are only for women who are not committed to their careers.

Working long hours in full time jobs with little flexibility may not be what all men want, but it gives them an advantage over many women in winning appointment to senior positions. It also contributes to the unhealthy culture of long working hours with rigid role structures in many Australian organisations.

We can see the price that women pay for this in not making it into senior leadership roles.

Giving men real opportunities for flexible working will:

• Enrich their work and family life
• Improve their job satisfaction and engagement at work
• Enhance their overall sense of well-being, and
• Help open up opportunities for women as well.

Failing this, the leadership opportunities open to Australian women will not improve, remaining significantly lower than in other developed nations – and men will continue to miss out on meaningful time with their families.

We acknowledge The 100% project for this research.
They would like to thank Partners and Sponsors who made this research possible: Principle launch partner – Australia Post, Research Partners – School of Psychology, Deacon University, Media Communication Partners – Reputation, Launch sponsors – PCW, Able and Baker, People Measures.

3 Assertive Ways to Get More Time with Your Kids

3 assertive ways to get more time with your kids

As a dad, one of your biggest challenges is probably finding more time to spend with your kids.

Each day only has 24 hours and there is nothing you can do about that, which means that the only way to find more time for your kids is to redirect time you spend on other activities.

I am willing to bet that one of the highest demands on your time comes from your job, along with any auxiliary activities it entails such as preparation, commuting and so on. Well, your job also presents the best opportunity to redirect time and thus have more time to spend with your kids.

Now I realize this is easier said than done, which is why I’d like to actually show you 3 effective techniques you can use to make this happen.

All these techniques revolve around the concept of assertiveness. To be assertive means to put taking care of your needs first and to express yourself openly in your relationships with others, but from a position of respect towards others, not aggressively.

Assertiveness is something you can use in your career to effectively free up time and not let your job overwhelm your finite time resources. Here are the 3 specific ways you can do this:

1. Practice Saying “No”

You probably end up dedicating a lot more time to your work than you’d like to, because others in the workplace ask for it and you just don’t say “no”.

Your boss asks you to stay overtime repeatedly and each time you agree, even though you don’t really want to. Some of your colleagues ask you for help regularly and you end up working late in order to help them get their job done, even though you’d prefer they do it on their own. And thus, you give others big chunks of your time.

This has to change. You need to deliberately practice politely but firmly saying “no” when people at work make demands on your time. Not all the time, just some of the time, when you believe you’re entitled.

I know refusing a request involving your time may be hard for you right now. My advice is to take it gradually. Say “no” to small requests first, and progressively move up to more important requests. Also, always bear in mind that your time is important and you have the right to not give others in the workplace more of your time than your job responsibilities demand.

The more you practice saying “no” and the more you apply this mindset, the easier it gets to say “no”.

2. Try to Obtain Work-From-Home Days

If you would work from home some of the time and eliminate part of your daily commute, you would surely be able to spend a lot more time with your kids.

And doing at least some work from home is very likely possible in your job logistically speaking. All you need to do is get your employer to allow it.

Personally, I’ve coached several clients and helped them convince their employer to let them work from home 1, 2 or 3 days per week. The essential thing is to ignore any doubts you may have and actually go to your manager and ask them for this. And have a few persuasive arguments why they should approve your request.

You may feel some social awkwardness when doing this. It’s because you’re making a request of a superior that you’re not used to. Trust me: it will be fine. Ignore the awkwardness and do it.

Ideally, at first just suggest your manager to let you work one day per week at home for a couple of weeks, just as an experiment. If that goes well and your productivity stays the same or it actually improves, then you have a case for asking to make this permanent. Then perhaps to add one more work-from-home day, and then even another.

If your manager sees that you working from home doesn’t cause any problems, they value you as an employee and they know this is something important to you, you’re very likely to pull it off and end up doing part of your job from the comfort of your own home.

3. Find a Better Employer

Sometimes no matter how much you try to say “no” and you endeavor to negotiate the use of your time at work, you still can’t free up too much of it.

The dynamic of the company you work for is of such a nature that it constantly puts a high demand on your time and you have little control over this. Maybe you’re in an organization with a lot of emphasis on hard work and little respect for family life, or you have very rigid managers and colleagues; who knows?

Fortunately, if you’re a professional who has a lot to offer, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find a job in a company with better conditions and less strenuous demands on your time. You will need to be proactive though: search for jobs, send your resume and go to interviews. A better job won’t just fall in your lap. But as long as you take action diligently, results will happen.

The key idea to consider is that you deserve to have a decent amount of time to spend with your kids. Your work isn’t your entire life, it’s only a component of your life, and you have the right to put some clear boundaries on how much time you’re willing to invest in your work.

Do your job well and show commitment to it, but don’t let it absorb all your time and suck the life out of you. That’s what being assertive is all about, and that’s how you find more family time.

Guest Writer: Eduard Ezeanu coaches people who are shy and helps them become more outgoing, both in personal and professional situations. He believes that social confidence is a key factor in having a fulfilling life. You can read other articles from him on his two blogs, People Skills Decoded and Art of Confidence.

Be intentional – don’t let work rob you of time with your kids

intentionalFor some dads, an effort is made to maintain a fine balance between work and family since they consider them intertwined and equally important.   Just as you can’t be with your children 20 hours per day and hold a job, or spend 20 hours per day at work and be an effective dad, occasional compromises between work and family are required to maintain a happy medium.

For these dads, keeping work and family equal is a matter of pragmatism.   On an emotional or ideal basis they believe that family is the higher priority.  They believe that fulfilling their role as a father includes being a good provider, in fine balance with family life. They are defensive of family time, being intentional in their efforts to not let work rob their kids and family of time with their dad.  One dad adjusts his shifts so he can spend more time with his kids.  He’ll swap shifts to be at home even for a brief period at dinner time when he can ask the kids about their day.

A fathers loveAnother dad, a teacher, goes into work early so when he comes home in the evening his family has his full attention. Some dads maximize precious family time by including their kids in everything they do or wherever they go outside of work.  Rather than stay in a job that intrudes into family time and is inflexible, many of these dads look for a new job that enables family time. These dads aren’t immune from the challenges of separating career and family priorities. In practice they are willing and intentional in their effort to compromise as best they can keep their career and family roles balanced.

Unless a dad is independently wealthy and doesn’t need to work, it is normal for him to be confronted with conflicting priorities of work and family. How the father addresses the balance of work and family has significant positive or negative ramifications for all stakeholders; himself, his family, and his employer.

For many separated dads, time becomes even more precious, the need to continue earning is a heightened because finances are stretched. Many dads that have a fortnightly or 50/50 access agreement take intentional action to ensure that nothing gets in the way of their time with their children. Work shifts, social engagements get pushed aside over having access with their children. For this group of dads, career and promotion opportunities are often missed and social friends disappear but from the value they get from fathering they would not have it any other way.

Father and Son.The father’s behavior will in large measure be based on his sense of control, the flexibility of his job and family, and his willingness to engage in healthy compromise and boundary setting. Work and family will be out of balance when boundaries are absent or not enforced. Poor boundaries created by an out of balance condition can be generated by the father, or in some cases inflexible demands of the family, the job or the employer.

Focus on the children can help fathers by raising their awareness of the factors necessary for a healthy work/family balance. Since families need to eat, there may be periods of time where it is the father’s duty to tolerate a work/family imbalance. On the other hand, many fathers may actually be promoting the condition by poor boundary setting or failing to research and pursue different job opportunities that may be available. With the many conflicting priorities inherent to work and family demands, the issues surrounding work/life imbalance can be a significant source of stress to fathers and their families.

Work life balance

Depending on your access agreement it can be difficult developing a career, I was a every second weekend dad the first time round and although it came with all the emotional losses it enabled me to devote time into my career.  Now that I find myself in this situation again (accept in a 50/50 parenting agreement) and loving it, it comes with a different array of stresses, mostly work related.  Sometimes I am not available to put the extra long hours in like people who are climbing the career ladder seem to put in when they have that second support at home.  My foot has slipped of the clutch and I have stalled but I am out and pushing to keep the vehicle moving, but I don’t see any choice, what is the alternative, no thank you!  There does seem to be a glass ceiling for people like me.  So all in all I feel I am working and parenting adequately to keep all concerned happy.  I am sure there are many of us in the same situation, how are you guys doing it?