There’s been a lot of attention lately for some high-profile men – Channel 9’s James Brayshaw, NZ Prime Minister John Key, and Google CFO Patrick Pichette – who have stepped down from their roles to focus on their family.
Traditional gender roles within the home used to be men worked while most women stayed at home to raise the children. But as more women have entered the workforce, balancing family and work has become a significant challenge for both men and women.
While men and women feel the same pressure to spend more time with their family, men often don’t communicate their stress and worries. But sharing thoughts and struggles is a proactive step toward shifting the balance of stress and finding new solutions.
Here are some ways you can start to shift your work-life balance.
- Communication: Don’t bottle up your feelings if you are worrying that you are not spending enough time with your family. Talk to your partner, co-parent, colleagues and mates. Together you may come up with solutions, and you will realise that you probably aren’t alone with your concerns about getting the right balance.
- Prioritise: Think about what is truly important to you. Knowing exactly how you want to prioritise your time will help to make sure you’re putting things in place to find the balance you want.
- Track Time: Have you ever recorded a time-diary, and figured out exactly how you spend each 15-60 minute block of time? Keep a diary for a few days and then review how you use your time objectively. If it was anyone else, how would you suggest they change things?
- Consider Changes at Work: Can you work from home? Could you get some extended paternity leave? Is there flexibility in the hours you could be working? This isn’t always an option, but you can look into your company’s policies to see what alternatives exist.
- Focus On Your Health: Exercise regularly, enjoy the time you have with your kids by being present (quality over quantity), leave work on time, and plan for some time off. Prioritising your health – physical, mental and emotional – will help to balance out life’s stress one step at a time.
If you are struggling and want to talk to a counsellor, call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 79.