Editor’s Note: We know that there are many different types of families, including those headed by a single parent, partnered parents, multigenerational households, etc. This article specifically addresses married, mother-father couples.
Balancing parenting and work is no easy feat. Understandably, it’s a responsibility that many fathers juggle with. However, when handled with the right attitude, this balance can be achieved! Here are 5 tips to better help your husband balance between work and family:
1. Share at least one family meal. Whether the family gets together in the morning for breakfast or in the evening for dinner, try your best to get the whole family to spend at least one meal together. This will help your husband unplug from work and/or other daily responsibilities and plug into the lives of you and your children. Though it may look like a simple meal, studies have shown the great impact family meals can have on children. When children observe their parents pursue these efforts, the observation will inevitably turn into a healthy foundation for their future families as well.
2. Communicate with your husband on what’s going on. There may be events or episodes he is not aware of due when he is at work, especially those involving your children. Inform him on the latest activities or changes, so that it’s easier for him to contribute in family conversations (and to attend events, such as games, dance recitals, etc., when he can!).
3. Help set physical and digital boundaries. Encourage your husband to prioritize physical boundaries by leaving his work at work. Help him maintain digital boundaries by putting away electronic devices during meals and conversations with family. This is a hard discipline but an important one to set. Especially living in the aftermath of COVID-19, many workplaces are still implementing remote or hybrid work. Therefore, it is especially important to set clear boundaries. Though it may be tempting to let your husband carry his work anywhere and anytime in the house, try to help him log off by setting up a designated work space in the house and by putting away devices during family time.
4. Encourage limited work on the weekends and having at least one free day. This piece of advice is not only aimed toward quality family time but also toward your husband’s mental health. As a working father, having a day to rest and reset for the upcoming week is crucial for his mental and physical health. Furthermore, resting for one day exemplifies a healthy work-life balance for your children. Work is important, but cleaning out the “stress bin” is even more crucial. Don’t let your husband’s “stress bin” overflow; encourage him to empty it out every week.
5. Go on a date with your husband at least once a month. Not only is showcasing a healthy work-life balance important, but maintaining a healthy marriage is a vital factor as well. Though it may not directly impact your husband’s work or the relationship with your children, it definitely plays a major, influential role. Try to set aside a date at least once a month to reconnect with your husband. Nurturing your marriage will inevitably help your husband’s presence in the family grow stable and anchored.
All of these tips require time and effort. Thus, the last, most important piece of advice: Be patient and believe in your husband. If the initial attitude is that he’s incapable of a good work and parenting balance, nothing will be accomplished, regardless of how many tips are offered. It’s critical that along with any tip, an encouraging, patient attitude is paired. Thus, support your husband not with a begrudging heart but one of eagerness and joy, because the attitude with which he approaches these tips will reflect the longevity of his familial investment. After all, dads are so important!
By Abigail Choe