The below post is from fellow dad and PR professional Jason Mollica. Full details on Jason at the bottom of the post.
I have to admit… it was tough trying to juggle being a parent and public relations pro. I’d rarely be able to get my kids on the bus and by the time I’d get home, the kids already had dinner. I felt like I was succeeding at my job, but not as a parent. It ate me up inside.
A year ago, I got let go from my job. Ironically, it was after getting my daughter on the bus for her first day of school. It really was a blessing in disguise because I wanted to start my own business. Even greater, I could be around more for my family.
Now, before you think, “Hey buddy, you make it seem like it is unicorns and blue skies.” It’s not. Far from it. In fact, I’ve worked harder in the last year than I had in the last six. Why? Because being a Dad, husband and business owner takes balance and focus. And it is NOT easy.
The first nine months of working out of my home was a huge adjustment. If you think planning and goals are huge in PR, those two things are just as important as a parent. These may be things that seem relatively simple, but when you’ve been doing the “9 to 5” grind much of your professional life, sliding into solo (or working from home) can be difficult.
So in this day and age how can we, as Dads, have a good balance?
1) Set a specific time to work - If your kids are out of the house from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., make sure you get as much done as possible during this time. Be productive and limit that unnecessary chatter on social networks or the phone.
2) Only work with your kids around if absolutely necessary – Yes, I’ve had to put on the occasional cartoon for my kids when an important mail or call comes in. But, don’t make it habit. This doesn’t mean you blow off clients, etc. It does mean that your time is valuable with family, too.
3) You don’t need to be married to your iPhone - I’m so guilty of this it isn’t funny. When I first started on my solo journey, I didn’t want to miss anything. I was a prisoner to it. Now, while still making time to check it, I’m leaving it on my counter at night.
4) Talk with your wife… often - My wife is a nursing professor AND a PhD student. She’s working her tail off, so we need to make sure both of our schedules are in sync. It’s been a huge adjustment having to be flexible. We text often and make sure we both know where we stand.
5) Let your kids see what you do – I’ve made sure my little ones spend a little time each day to get an idea what my job is. It’s actually helped when I’m working and my wife is home, too. They’ll stop down and say hi, but they respect my time in my office.
Remember, being a Dad isn’t easy to begin with. There are up, downs, and everything in between. The more we can handle the jobs and events that can be handled, it leaves room for the things that can’t be planned.
Jason Mollica is the president of JRM Comm, a public relations and social media marketing consultancy, located outside Buffalo, N.Y. He blogs at One Guy’s Journey on business, life and everything in between. Jason is a husband and father, two of his biggest joys in life.