Being a working parent is a privileged position to be in but it definitely comes with its challenges. I wonder, does anyone ever feel like I do? Often when I’m at work I’d rather be at home. Ironically, sometimes when I’m home I’d rather be at work! Parenting is a full on commitment that can drain our energy levels. This is especially true if you have young ones in the home who are incredibly dependent on you.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men… You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
Taking this mentality into work is where we can begin to create a healthy work life balance that will allow us to be our best in both environments. We serve such an important purpose in our work, voluntary positions or studies. We also serve a critical role as parents. The reality is sometimes these two roles can spill over into each other which limits our ability to do either well.
The healthy work life balance requires us to identify our priorities. If we are unsure of what matters most to us in life, our actions and use of time will reflect this. When I am at work, I’ll be honest, I can go hours at a time where I don’t think about my family. This is because I am giving everything I can to uphold my duties and commitment to my work. Pastor Michael highlighted a verse last week that taps directly into this.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2A).
I used to view work in a worldly view. It was a chore at times. But as I’ve grown I understand we are all called into our work for a purpose. Yeah I admit, it may be hard to see that purpose at times. Like the good ol’ days when I was working at Chicken A-Go-Go, had God sent me there to pray over the chickens before we fried them?! But whenever we look back in our lives and take stock, God’s master plan becomes visible to us. I’ve learnt if I can transform my mind from seeing work as something I HAVE to do to something I have been CALLED to do it can really change my mindset.
On the other hand, in order to give my best effort at work I have also learnt to shut down thoughts of work when I am at home. This is a struggle sometimes, especially if something important is happening at work or something needs follow up. Anyone else ever been up at 3am staring at the roof thinking about an upcoming meeting or phone call you have to make? This is the worst feeling ever. So I tap into God’s calming presence in these moments and focus my thoughts on my family and praying for blessings for my family and friends. In moments like these when work related thoughts begin intruding on my personal time I recite this verse in my head.
““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
You see, being at home just isn’t enough. We must strive to by present. Let’s be real, our children are a gift and a curse. They push our every button and stretch our patience to the limit. But it’s those moments of reflection or growth that make it all worth it. To finish with, here are some ideas for creating a healthy work life balance.