Balancing act: After 2 years, 'new' job still teaches work-life lessons

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10 2013 8:30 a.m. MDT

If I still worked the hours I had in my previous career, I don't know how my wife and I would work out the logistics of transporting our children to three different schools, much less shuttling them to all of their various extracurricular activities.

But the lessons of the last couple of years go beyond those tangible benefits of a more rational schedule. My children don't just need a chauffeur. They need a father.

I've tried to use some of my time to get better at that job, too. For example, I strive to listen more carefully when my kids are talking so they know I truly care about them and their interests. And since I'm not always pulling out a laptop to finish up work from home in the evenings, I make an effort to enjoy the little moments of fun or silliness that develop when we spend time together.

I'm also learning more about the importance of always — always! — building my relationship with my wife. I wrote a few weeks ago about our anniversary weekend getaway and the benefits of such time together, and we're also figuring out ways to have regular date nights despite all of our kids' activities and her incredibly busy volunteer schedule.

I still need to get better at really listening to her and to our children, focusing intently on what they have to say and blocking out the distractions that are clamoring for my attention. But I'm committed to doing so, and I think I'm improving as the weeks and months go by.

Two years into this new gig, I'm still far from perfect as a manager, a father or a husband. But I'm glad I have the time and energy to work on getting better at all three.

And that definitely made Friday's anniversary one worth celebrating.

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