I get asked a lot about work-life balance and I understand fully how hard it can be to find a comfortable balance between our work life, our home life and our personal life. There just never seem to be enough hours in a day or a week to do it all. And yet I think we all know intuitively that it is usually our families who suffer from our lack of time, or at least our lack of planning and prioritizing.
I recently read several articles, interviews and blog posts from successful CEO's and entrepreneurs who seem to have found several keys or principles that have helped them achieve better work-life balance. From Virgin Airlines' Richard Branson to Ryan Smith, a young entrepreneur and co-founder of Qualtrics, these committed dads and successful business leaders offer their advice to all of us who struggle with striking that important balance between employment, family and personal life.
More on work-life balance:
- Six Ways to Set Boundaries for Better Work-Life Balance
- Balancing Work and Family as a Single Parent
- Quality Time and Quantity Time
Photo of Richard Branson courtesy of Getty Images.
Our family has long been interested in genealogy, or finding our family ancestry. Maybe it is an innate desire to know more about our ancestors and their lives and times. Perhaps it is just curiosity. Or maybe we feel drawn in some way to those who make up our family line. In any case, genealogy can be a fun family pastime.
There are lots of resources at About.com and elsewhere to help your family get started with genealogy. I recently posted an article by Marissa Joansford on how to inspire our children to join with us in seeking out our family ancestry. In addition, Kimberly Powell, our About.com Guide to Genealogy, has a great article about teaching kids how to be "ancestor detectives."
The FamilySearch site, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is one of the best free sites available for starting on your family research. You can start with basic information about a deceased relative and tap into the LDS Church's vast databases of vital records and see what you can find.
This family hobby can be a little addictive, but it is really fun and rewarding to learn more about your ancestors and where you fit into your family tree!
More on Genealogy from About.com
Image © 2002-2007 Kimberly Powell. Licensed to About.com.
It is Mother's Day weekend, and it frequently happens that dads have a bunch to do with Mother's Day for their own moms and the mom of their children.
The mom in our home loves flowers and a special dinner and dessert for Mother's Day. And we are trying to find time the same day with our moms as our siblings are trying to do the same thing. And then our married kids need to have some time to connect with their mothers-in-law, so it gets pretty complicated. I'm not sure there are enough hours in one Sunday to make all this work!
But enough whining from me. I am anxious to help my kids do all that we need to in order to honor their mom, who is absolutely the best mother I know. So on with the big production on Sunday.
Speaking of Mother's Day, our About.com Guides have lots of information about Mother's Day and things dads and kids can do to make it a great day for Mom.
A newly released study from the Pew Research Center demonstrates that the roles of mothers and fathers in American society are converging, at least in terms of how they spend their time and how they feel about work-life balance. Consider the following study findings:
- 56% of working moms and 50% of working fathers find it somewhat difficult or very difficult to balance their home and work responsibilities
- Among mothers with children under 18, the share of those who prefer to work full-time has increased from 20% to 32% in the last five years
- About 60% of all households with children under 18 have two working parents. While fathers still spend more time at work outside the home, they are carrying an increasing share of the time working at home.
- Working mothers tend to rank themselves as doing a good job as a parent more highly than do working fathers. 73% of working moms say they are doing a good or excellent job as a parent compared to 64% of working dads.
The results of the study are quite intriguing. The study also compares the attitudes of moms working outside the home with those who do not work outside the home and to married moms versus unmarried moms, with some fascinating results. It is worth your time to see how the attitudes of parents today reflect the times in which we live and the increasing difficulty of managing work-life conflicts.
Learn more about work-life balance:
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With just about a month now before Father's Day, I have been thinking about the importance of getting to know our fathers better. Fathers don't often come with their own built-in biographies or self-published memoirs for us to read, but there is so much that we can learn from their experiences.
So, as I thought about what we could do to learn more about our dads, I put together a list of twenty questions that we could ask our dads to get the conversation started. Take a look at the questions, and then consider setting aside some time to interview Dad. You might even want to record the conversation and then transcribe your notes and the interview to share with other family members as a form of a personal history!
More on getting to know Dad:
- Your Favorite Father's Life Lesson
- Challenges Faced by Fathers
- Top 10 Things a Dad of Teens Needs to Know
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Occasionally, I post a profile of a celebrity that has embraced fatherhood, and Denzel Washington is among my favorites. Estranged from his minister father at a young age, Denzel's life as a committed father is a great example. Denzel and his wife Pauletta have been married for thirty years this year, and have raised their children to be successful and grounded despite the challenges that fame and celebrity bring.
Denzel has always been one of my favorite actors and I am even more impressed with him as a husband and father. Learn more about his life, career and family and about what he has done to raise a great family.
More about celebrity fathers:
Image courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.
There is a serious gap in standardized reading scores between boys and girls. While their respective test scores on math and science are relatively equal, girls have a big test score advantage in reading over boys. This is true in the United States, but the gap is even greater among 65 developed countries in the world.
This may be the case for a variety of reasons. There may be some biological reasons, but there are clearly some that are more societal. Most elementary school teachers are women, and reading sometimes takes on a "feminine" characteristic. Boys frequently have a shorter attention span than girls and need more frequent reading breaks to engage in more "masculine" physical activities. And because more men than women categorize themselves as "non-readers," boys often don't have a good male role model to encourage their love of reading.
That is where dads come in. Learn more about this gender gap in literacy and get some great ideas for what dads can do to bridge the literacy gap and help their boys learn to read and to love it!
More on reading and literacy:
- Helping Preschoolers Learn to Read
- Helping Elementary School Children Read and Love It
- How Fathers Can Help Their Children Read: Middle School and High School Years
- A Father's Commitment to Life Long Reading
Image courtesy of Getty Images
I had the opportunity this week to participate with Chris Efessiou, the author of CDO-Chief Daddy Officer, on his radio program to talk about work-life balance. It was a very interesting hour for me as we chatted about things like setting boundaries, learning to say no, becoming more efficient at work so that we can get more done in fewer hours and more. You can listen to an archive of the radio program at the Voice America website.
One of the callers suggested that the term "work-life balance" has become outmoded and kind of one-dimensional. She asked if there was a better term for this elusive "balance." So Chris and I talked about concepts like "equilibrium" and "holistic" and he asked his listeners to email him with their ideas. I would love to hear some thoughts from my readers as well. Is there a better term that we should be trying to use to describe this effort to keep the various elements of life in balance?
More on Work-Life Balance:
Image courtesy of Chris Efessiou
Why do some families manage tragedy or difficulty better than others? Sometimes on the evening news, you see a family that has experienced a major health crisis or loss of a family member and they seem to be calm and full of faith or hope. Then we see others in similar situations who simply don't know what to do or where to turn and who eventually fall into a truly dysfunctional situation.
I believe that families can prepare for such events and develop a resiliency - the strength and attitude needed to bounce back stronger from adversity. So a resilient family is the result of planning and work, and not just happenstance.
More resources on dealing with family challenges:
- Dealing with grief at the loss of a spouse
- Talking to children about tragedy
- When things are tough at home
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Occasionally, I invite our readers to prepare a guest post. This one, about the role homeschooling dads can play in their family's experience, was written by Paul Taylor, who hosts the babysittingjobs.com website. Thanks, Paul, for adding to our information about dads and homeschooling.
There are a number of reasons as to why homeschooling is ideal for your child. Lack of opportunities, illness, or if you simply prefer to give your child the one-on-one experience that many students thrive on are just a few examples of why this situation could arise. Regardless of the reason, it's time to focus on the task of teaching your child the knowledge he or she is going to need in order to be a productive member of society.
1. Environment - As a father, you need to lead by example. In order to be more productive in the process of homeschooling, you'll need to establish an environment that is conducive to learning. Easy access to gaming units, smartphones, or other diversions needs to be avoided. Remember, your student is there to learn and not play. You'll need to set these ground rules from the beginning and the child needs to know that the time is to be spent learning.
2. Technology - Although specific criteria has to be met in order for your child to earn his or her credit, the methods can deviate from the standard methods of regular teachers. If you find a method that works best with your child, then that is what you need to implement. If you have an abundance of technology in the house, there is a variety of ways that they can be put to use. The Internet in general is an excellent tool for it is home to the sum of human knowledge. Any subject can be found and utilized from the Internet. Just remember that you are the teacher and the online experience is not meant to be merely a babysitter. Some children learn far better with someone to guide them instead of telling them what to do.
3. Discipline - You need to establish discipline for yourself and your student that is outside the scope of what "daddy" normally enforces. It will be difficult, but dividing yourself from parent and teacher will help in the child accepting specific details about each. There needs to be a mutual respect between teacher and student that is differentiated from father and child. Your child will more than likely try to get away with certain behaviors in your homeschooling environment that he or she wouldn't have been able to do in a brick-and-mortar school. While you could provide some leniency in behavior, it's probably a good idea to not let go of the reigns entirely. Keep them in check or the situation could turn chaotic.
4. Dedication - You will need to be as focused and dedicated to homeschooling more than your student is. While it may seem tedious at times to work on materials five days per week, you can't demonstrate a lapse in control. It takes a great amount of dedication in order to provide education for your child and it isn't something you should take lightly. It's a serious situation as your child needs to learn everything his or her grade level requires in order to continue success in the experience. You need to remain focused on your task as set aside specific hours that you won't deviate from in order to solidify a routine of learning.
5. Restrictions - One aspect that homeschooling has over conventional methods is the ability to incorporate any material, technology, or method without getting approval or funding from committees. There are less restrictions for the homeschooling student and this can help you capitalize on improved ways to help you teach your child. If there is content for an eReader or tablet, nothing is stopping you from including these into your own homeschooling program aside from your personal budget.
It can be difficult at times to keep your focus on the goal. You may need to separate your role as a father and a teacher. A child will learn nothing if you do the work for them and at times, the daddy instinct to help may become overpowering. Just remember the adage, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
About the Author: Paul Taylor started www.babysittingjobs.com which offers an aggregated look at those sites to help families find sitters and to help sitters find families easier than ever. He loves writing, with the help of his wife. He has contributed quality articles for different blogs & websites.
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