Working parents: Here’s how to stop feeling guilty and start helping your family celebrate your work

If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a family, chances are there have been occasions where someone you love and care about have made side comments about “working too much” or have guilt tripped you about staying late to get some work done.

Maybe it was:

  • Your children
  • Your spouse or significant other
  • A close family member

Either way, they may not recognize the high priority or importance of the work you’re doing. And, when your family doesn’t fully understand or support the work you are doing, it can add even more stress to your plate – especially when you are already stressed out trying to complete a task or project and get on with your evening or weekend.

Although it can be frustrating, having loved ones who care about you and want to spend more time with you is a huge blessing – and in many cases, our families are the #1 reason why we do the work that we do.

And it’s important to remember that in the midst of stressful situations.

So: if you feel like you are under the gun and wondering how to stop feeling guilty for being a working mom, dad, or spouse: I’m going to share three ways that you can overcome the problem and better balance your work tasks and personal life, so that you can:

  • Be more productive during your working hours
  • Shift your loved ones’ mindset around your work so they can celebrate with you, versus make you feel guilty
  • Set clear boundaries with work, friends, and family members

Make sure you are learning how to better communicate with your spouse and children.

Setting clear expectations is the number one most important factor in better managing your work and home life. It’s important to not only clearly communicate when and what your family can expect from you, but you also need to hold to your promises. When you do both of these things, working late or early isn’t as big of a deal, because you’ve established trust and understanding between all parties that will eliminate the friction.

It’s best to communicate more than once when things come up, and I recommend communicating both verbally and in writing (whether that’s a reminder text, on the calendar, or a handwritten note).

For example: if you don’t typically work over the weekend, and there’s an instance where you will, make sure there is clear communication about that. You might say something like, “Just a heads up, I’m going to need to take about 3 hours to get this important project done before the deadline.”

If you need to work on a Saturday morning from 8-11, you may decide to throw in family plans at noon. When that’s the case, it’s important to emphasize that in order to be done on time, you need to protect those 3 hours so that you can get your work done beforehand.

Map out your plans for spending quality time together and set strict boundaries.

It’s equally as important to keep your promises to family members. If you set a date on the calendar for a date night or a day at the park, make sure you fulfill those commitments. You can do this by building around what you are communicating.

If there are set days or times where you know your schedule will be out of the ordinary or you need to go above and beyond at work, put time frames around when you will spend dedicated time with your loved ones. You may say, “here are the times that I will be working this weekend. And, here’s what our plans are and what we have to look forward to.”

With that being said, it’s important to set very clear boundaries around when it’s work time and when it’s family time. During dedicated family time, try leaving your phone at home or in another room and being fully present with your loved ones. Be intentional about creating space where you can give 100% of your attention and focus.

Set business or career goals as a family. Allow your spouse and/or children to be a part of the conversation.

One of the best things I ever decided to do, was to include my husband and daughter in setting goals as a family. We created a family vision board together and take turns adding to it. We set goals together, measure and track our progress toward those goals as a family. Because when I’m working in my business, I’m not just trying to accomplish business goals – I’m working toward creating a life that we love, and on crossing things off of our family board.

Identify the “why” behind everything that you are doing – and not just your own personal “why,” but what are you trying to accomplish as a family?

When you can tangibly explain those goals to your children and get really specific and clear about why you are working hard, what you are working toward, and how you’ll celebrate achieving them, it teaches them to correlate hard work and perseverance to specific outcomes.

It also eliminates the guilt that we feel as parents, because when they can understand the context of your work, why it’s important and the impact it will make – they won’t feel upset when they see you working hard.

These three things will make a massive difference in getting your family on board with your career or business, so remember:

  • Over-communicate.
  • Give context.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Set boundaries.
  • Map out your goals as a family.

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