Phone ringing, kids yelling, food needs cooking, pets need walking, human taxi needs to roll to the next extracurricular activity. Sound familiar? Sounds like a full time job.
But what if you already have a full time job, or a business that you want to thrive?
The key to the balance is having your house run like a well oiled machine. This means the people in it as well as the necessary tasks that keep it running. If you are engaged in problem behavior solving for most of your home time you are wasting precious time. If you are having to attend school meetings based on problem behavior then ditto.
Poorly run and chaotic households are difficult to go home to. Many professional women feel guilty when they know they are finding reasons to stay at work because their home life is such a mess. This impacts your marriage or personal relationship as well. Maybe your spouse is staying at work more for the same reasons. If you are single, poorly behaved children can scare away potentially great mates.
Children can do many things to help in the house and it is not cruel to expect them to do it. They should be contributing family members. This instills a sense of community and family early on. Having a well run home needs to be set out as a common goal for each member. Poor behavior does not contribute to a well run home. Your leadership of your home sets the tone just as it does at work. You would not tolerate poor or disruptive behavior from an employee, your home is just as important.
Where I see home life fall apart for professional women is when they start to parent like what I call the “Free-For Alls”. The two main characteristics of the Free-For-Alls are as follows:
- Inconsistent rules-Bouncing on the furniture may be cute as heck on Saturday when you have time to pick up all the pillows but not so cute on Wednesday night when you have a project due or the noise is on your last nerve. When you blow up the child doesn’t know the difference, just that it was OK on Saturday. This causes anxiety and confusion in the child.
- Not enough Rules- This is worse but I see it all the time. Parents who are divorced and have to share time are big culprits here as they don’t want to spend the time they have with the child enforcing rules or struggling. They are afraid they will lose the love of the child. That is your issue, the child still needs rules to follow in life.
Parents who are stressed out and tired also tend to lean in this direction. They feel it is easier to do whatever task themselves rather than ask the child to do it or argue with the child over some behavior. It isn’t easier when the child is 16 and still arguing with you, it’s exhausting. If you are exhausted you are not going to be very productive.
If you were over-parented yourself you may lean in this direction. I have worked with clients who believe their child will do Ok and all they have to do is be there for them without “telling them what to do “. They don’t want to repeat what their parents did if they were overly strict. This really doesn’t work. Kids need guidance and teaching, they have friends, your job is to teach. The friendship will come anyway.
In addition to making your life stressful and wasting time, the Free-For-All family system is usually full of chaos and anxiety for everyone, as there are no clear rules to live by. Sometimes the children are comfortable at home; however, they find themselves shunned or not popular with peers, as they don’t behave by the same standards or manners. These children also may have difficulties with other authority figures or find themselves actually disliked by adults and their friends’ parents. They may develop a sense of entitlement that hinders them in social, work and academic environments, as others do not bend to their wishes.
If you are not already convinced that rule setting for a smooth household is in everyone’s best interest, let me share with you the potential personal difficulties experienced by adult children of parents who do not discipline:
- Anxiety Poor parenting skills
- Attention problems Relationship problems
- Boundary problems Sense of entitlement
- Career problems Underachievement
- Chronic anger
- Disorganized lifestyle
- Peer rejection
- Poor coping strategies
No one wants to leave this legacy for their child to deal with as an adult. These are all preventable. You really can work full time, build a business and raise a great child.
Here are some simple tips that work wonders:
- Set rules that promote “law and order “around the house. These will pertain to toys, clothing, chores, etc. based on your child’s age.
- You and the other parent have to enforce these rules equally.
- Make sure your child understands the rules and also understands what will happen if they break the rules.
- Don’t bend the rules except in an extreme case.
- Give everyone chores that help to reduce your workload while at home. It’s OK, really.
- Only engage in extracurricular activities that make sense and that there is time for. Having so many activities that no one is really enjoying them makes no sense and is not enriching anyone’s lives. Children enjoy you and spending time together. Great memories are not made while running around eating at McDonalds and being yelled at.
- Set aside some private time in the evening for you to get yourself organized for your day ahead.
As a successful business owner or a professional mom with lots to contribute you will be the apple of your child’s eye. Being strong and raising them with expectations of great behavior gives them an advantage in life that only you can give them. They will be prepared for whatever they encounter in life and not hindered by the above problems stemming from dysfunctional family systems. It may sound like a lot of work and it is, but not as much work as chasing bad behavior and a disruptive home. Free yourself up for success!
Questions or Comments? Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org