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10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

It’s summer! And also school holidays!

We get so tied up with the daily hustle and bustle that sometimes we forget to be in the moment with the people closest to us, and before we know it, a season has passed.

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This summer, make it a memorable one when you switch over to ‘family and loved ones’ mode and turn off your email notifications instead.

Here are 10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

  • Go to the beach, playground or theme park. Go on heart pumping adrenaline rushing rides.
  • Bonding sessions – try something you have always wanted with your family. Sign up and go do it together.
  • Learn something together for the first time (beading, arts & crafts making, painting lessons, skating, baking courses).
  • Explore a new place or find new food to try (and, engage them in finding the new location you are going).
  • Do something that is an all-time favourites in the family (camping, fishing, swimming).
  • Solve a puzzle together.
  • Go picnic, do bbq (and kite-flying) together.
  • Ask them to teach you something, and vice versa.
  • Tell them your childhood stories.
  • Take a summer family portrait together. Not ‘selfies’. Proper photos and frame it up.

Family activities are often thought to be routine, but that’s only true when you let them be! With the above, you don’t even need to spend on staycations or expensive holidays to have fun.

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How to make time

It’s hard to get time off especially when you are bogged down by work and other commitments. Our job pays our bills. The work we do could even be our passion, but the time and moments spent with people who matter to us overwrite them all. How about starting with the below steps?

  1. Plan the activities with your family. There is nothing better than doing something that everyone is excited about instead of you picking one that you think they will like.
  2. Take at least three days off your annual leave, if possible. Or take it just before or after a weekend so you have more off days to spend.
  3. Ensure you have properly handed over your to-do lists to your colleague. Before you go on your leave, work as much as you need to complete your handover. Make sure you cover everything so you don’t get calls in between your holidays.
  4. Activate your out-of-office notification. Or have the emails forwarded to your colleague who is taking over.
  5. On your first day of leave, disconnect from media and technology. Better yet, go somewhere where wifi is barely existent. You’d be surprised that your children would be asking for it more than you.
  6. And set off! Immerse in a fun and exciting summer with your family.

There are bound to be disagreements and hiccups along the way, but that’s what makes it fun and memorable! Take disagreements with a grain of salt and go ahead with what you have planned anyway.

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If you have to divert from the original plan though, so be it.

Keep It Going

Once you have started this practice, don’t stop it at there. Here are some ways that you can start doing on a daily basis even after summer is over

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  1. Be present when you are at home. Practice silencing your phone or switching off for a few hours. Some things can wait, others can’t. You know which one can’t. Be at home when at home, not multi tasking nor thinking about work or to-do lists.
  2. Pay attention and be attentive to your spouse and kids. Be fully engaged and listen to their daily happenings, be it at the park, shop or in school for that day. Share your day with them.
  3. Play together, dine together. Shower your spouse and children with more attention than you pay to your client or employer, because they deserve more than them!
  4. Work together. Do house work together, cook together, cook together, or help your child solve that difficult homework or Math problem. For all of a sudden, you might find yourself trying to solve a question more difficult than your work issue.
  5. Read bed time stories to them. Accompany them to bed. Share your childhood story with them! Reconnect with your spouse at the end of the day.
  6. Make time to get off from work earlier.
When you get older, would you remember the days when you sat in the same car with your spouse and kids but were busy thinking about something else? Would you remember what emails you were replying to when you think about the trips you’ve taken with your family, or the times when you had to rush a report telling your children to wait because you’re busy?
At the end of the day, it’s about who are with us on the whole journey and what makes you want to thrive and strive so hard. Definitely not your position in your company or the hours you lost on networking.

Make memories and build stronger bond with your loved ones.

This summer, make it the best one yet.

Featured photo credit: flickr.com via flickr.com

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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