Last year Sarah and I had a baby girl. Our first child.
We knew it would change our lives. It definitely has in some ways. Not so much in other ways. Definitely some things have gone to plan. Others have caught us by surprise.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from the experience so far is to try even harder not to judge other people’s situations. My focus there has been on parents. Cut them some slack. But really for anybody. Just cut people some slack. I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.
Another takeaway is that kids do changes things. There is certainly sacrifice, but it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t continue operating a business or start a business or anything like that.
#1. Be Strict With Time & Attention
When our daughter was born and Sarah started getting into a place to get back to work I knew I would have to give more time to our daughter. That meant I’d have to cut back on some things.
One thing I’ve learned is that most people could stand to cut some things. Some could even cut a lot of things. In our world today it’s very easy to add things. Physical things, but also emotional things. Amazon is just a click away. Social media is a click away. It’s easy to let things and people into our lives.
It’s about understanding what’s important to you and doing everything you can to protect those things.
Rod Stewart actually had a very good take on this. He said that he learned from his father that everyone would do well to have a vocation, a hobby and a sport.
I think hobby is a big one today.
I joke with Sarah that her hobby is her two cats. She kind of laughs it off, but it’s true. They take up time and attention. They deserve it. They require it.
It’s easy today to have too many hobbies. Netflix, social media, podcasts, reading, walking, the gym, meeting with friends, etc.
Rod Stewart allowed himself free time. He usually spent it working on his train sets. It fulfilled him. He didn’t watch a lot of TV. He didn’t go for runs. He didn’t read. He spent time with his trains.
That’s discipline and it’s important.
It’s not that you don’t have time for both family and kids. It comes down to the fact that you can have about 3 things in your life. Business and family can be two. A hobby can be the other. Maybe it’s a sport. Maybe it’s time with friends. The key is that once you get beyond those three you’re going to get in trouble.
#2. What’s Important To You
One thing I’ve read, heard and seen in the business world and in the parenting world is that kids want to see their parents happy. And a lot of times it seems that how we parent doesn’t necessarily directly impact who our children will be. We want to control the outcome, but we don’t really have as much control as we think.
I know people whose parents worked a regular job, spent plenty of time at home, but the parent wasn’t happy. Their life wasn’t fulfilled and that wasn’t enjoyable for the kids.
On the flip side, I know people whose parents were busy with work all the time, but they loved what they did. They loved life. And the kids saw that and the time they had with their parents was really good.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer for everyone. It’s finding the right mix that makes you happy and that gives your kids a good chance of seeing something positive. It won’t guarantee that they become good humans, but it’s the best we can do.
You have to be a little selfish. You have to figure out what you want and why you want it. Then figure out what that will take and commit to it. If it’s business and family then there is some combination of those that can work for both.
A Few Final Thoughts
Back to Rod Stewart for a second. When it comes to starting a business and having a family it might require extra sacrifice especially if you want to keep your regular job while starting the business.
In that case, you might have to cut “hobby” out of the mix in order to make room for “business”. That gives you vocation, family and business. No TV. No golfing. No time with friends. At least for the short-term.
That might seem harsh, but if you can’t handle that then maybe business isn’t as important as you think. And that’s ok. Job, Family and Friends can be a great mix. Job, Family and Hobby can be a great mix.
If you want to start a business there may be situations where family gets cut out. Most families will understand as long as they know that the business is really important to you. But if you’re putting too many other things ahead of family it can lead to issues.
The final, final takeaway here is that if business really is a top priority in your life, there are plenty of scenarios available to make it work while still leaving time for family. Quality time.
You’ll still need to sacrifice. Especially if you’re like most people in the world today that have added too many things to their everyday life.