Within the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to work more and more out of my house due to the nature of start-ups or when I was consulting. It brought some light on the relationship I have with my kids – I’ve got the opportunity to have a better one.
I tend to work alot…I’ve always had that gotta go / gotta go mentality hence the @biasforaction twitter name. Additionally I had previously associated work ethic with time volume in the office. I’d drive to work and turn the lights on and more often than not – was the guy talking to the cleaners and turning the lights out. So if I leave before the kids get up for school and come home roughly when they are getting their PJ’s on there’s not a huge amount of quality time you can spend with them (other than a story before bed). Then you get to the weekend and its more about the kids playing something or with their friends and you’ve narrowed down your engagement to minutes and hours a week – not including the times when you travel. Even so, when I completely focus on them with the limited time I was using we had a good relationship…but how could I tip the scale to great? We all get so wrapped up in what we are doing its hard to find time to breathe and nurture the things we value.
When I started working more out of the house and was required to put my kids on the bus in the morning I found a couple of things happening – my productivity improved but more importantly I got to know what my kids care about better. It didn’t take very long and the actual time spent was more over: breakfast, waiting for the bus, and time talking – about anything – including video games. Work productivity improvement is easy to track so I know that’s a fact but how do I know my relationship is better with my kids? Where is the external validation? I got a little of it from my sons teacher.
She sent a note home to tell us about a “Funny story” apparently my son had a productive day and “said he thought his great day was a tribute to his Dad’s Special Waffles” and then said he needed them more often” – TIP my “special waffles” are actually Pancakes (not pictured above) that had mini chocolate kisses in the shape of a smiley face.
So what’s it take – and extra bit of quality time in the mornings? Working from home more for those moments that tie it all together. Waffles/Pancakes with Chocolate? Listening to what they care about? All of the above?
Take the time to find out!
The funny thing is it applies to everything you do to improve relationships – whether with your kids, spouse, customers, co-workers, constituents. You’ve got to find the special waffles.
Is it worth the finding out? YES – Without any doubt in my mind.
Image courtesy of jackthumm / FreeDigitalPhotos.net