I love what I do and have a hard time putting work away. I also love my two young kids, yet find myself tending to “work” all the time. It’s so tricky!

I work from home and most of my work involves the Internet – running a website, managing business Facebook pages, answering emails, etc. It is stuff that I feel needs constant attention. I love what I do and have a hard time putting work away. I also love my two young kids, yet find myself tending to ‘work’ all the time. It’s so tricky! Do you have any advice?

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It’s better to have to choose between two things you adore, not two things you resent

It is great to hear that you love your work so much and also your two young children. Always better to choose between two things you adore rather than two things you resent!

Your situation touches upon a very new and interesting dynamic regarding the separation of work and non-work. As our culture is more and more ‘plugged in’, the boundaries become blurry. A 12-year-old texts a parent during a staff meeting, asking where his soccer cleats are, or a mom gets an urgent email from her boss during intermission at a school play. The Internet never sleeps, and even when we turn our own phone on silent, it doesn’t mean others aren’t expecting a rapid response from us.

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We need to be conscious about how we spend our time

In this day and age, we need to be very deliberate and conscious about how we are spending our time or there is a risk that we will attend to the things that are right in front of us, and other important things will be forgotten. The good news about this is that the solution doesn’t take a great deal of time.

Designate time in the evenings or on weekends where you completely unplug from your work (no cell phone or laptop) and focus your attention on your children. Make this time a reliable “ritual of connection” in your relationship that you both can look forward to.

The importance of departures and reunions

The Gottmans have taught us about the importance of departures and reunions. I encourage my clients to search their home for every family member before leaving in the morning and on returning in the afternoon or evening. It only takes about three to five minutes to give a hearty hug, an authentic smile, and have a short discussion about the day. Don’t forget to share a six-second kiss with your partner. If you’re already doing this, that’s great, keep up the good work!

Often, our energy is split between greeting someone and thinking about where we are going or coming from. If we give 100% of our attention then we will feel more connected and calm, which will help us to better attend to the other things we need to take care of.