8 Ways Professional Women Stay Connected To Family When Life Gets Busy
You love your career and you want strong connections with family and friends. I feel this way and so do a lot of professional women. Spending so much time at work can make you feel like you’re missing out on quality time at home. And if you travel for business the feeling is intensified.
Thankfully there are ways you can stay connected whether you’re stuck in back-to-back meetings, travelling for work or pressed for time at home. Let go of the mommy guilt and put the inner-critic in the backseat and stay connected in these simple yet impactful ways.
1.Design rituals. Simple intentional rituals tell your family you are present, available and they can count on you. Rituals can be simple or complex. They can occur daily, weekly or monthly. Examples include: playing together undistracted for 15 minutes when you first arrive home from work, chatting before bedtime, dancing crazily together for 5 minutes to blaring tunes, creating a secret family handshake or a mealtime blessing that gets everyone involved. Simply discussing the idea of rituals and asking your loved ones for suggestions will bring you closer together.
2. Swap mealtimes. Sometimes I’m working late and can’t make it home for dinner. Can you relate? So here’s an option I give myself permission to choose: Swap family dinnertime for breakfast or lunchtime. If we’re together at breakfast, my absence at dinner goes down easier. My kids are happy to wake up 20 minutes earlier if they know their favorite foods will be on the table (I go all out). If a lunchtime date during the week works better for your schedule, go for it.
3. Use technology for love. Technology can wreak havoc on relationships if you’re constantly plugged in. Thankfully it can also be a tool to help you stay connected to your loved ones throughout the day. It only takes seconds to send a thoughtful text, loving email, selfies or a funny voice recordings but the impact goes a long way.
4. Know everybody’s schedule. Get into the habit of knowing what’s on everybody’s plate. Staying aware of activities, quizzes in history class and schedules allow you to better support your child and partner after a challenging day or celebrate them for a job well done.
5. Turn your to-do list into a to-connect list. Have you ever considered checking things off the to-do list as a family? Show everybody what you’re up to and decide which tasks you can do together. Find a way to incorporate surprises and fun into it and you will end up with eager volunteers.
6. Hide the phones. Agree to hide or turn off cell phones while spending quality time with loved ones. An experiment conducted by the University of Essex found that having a cell phone versus a notebook on the table during personally meaningful conversations negatively impacts the level of connection between 2 people. It lowered the degree of sympathy, empathy, compassion and attentiveness among participants.
7. Bring a gift. If you travel often for work, bring home a token from your business “adventure”. It doesn’t have to be extravagant—toiletries or a pad of paper from the hotel room, a t-shirt, baseball cap or postcard. It may seem simple to you but to your little one, it translates as love.
8. Share the kitchen. On days you’re home for dinner, share the meal preparation. Cooking with your child is a great way to strengthen connection because it requires constant communication, creativity, staying present and best of all…the shared secrecy of sampling the goods!Just like at the office, everyone has a specialty. So find out what your child likes to do and is good at. My son prefers to do the baking (because he likes sweets) while my daughter prefers taking control of the cooktop. From menu planning to chopping herbs to setting the table, there’s something for everyone to connect over.
How do you stay connected to you loved ones when work demands are high or you’re traveling?
Akanke Adefunmi helps professional women shift from stress to success in their work-family-personal life. You are always invited to attend one of her free work-family-self balance webinars or join her monthly Working Moms Virtual Retreat. Follow her on Twitter, @Akanke_Adefunmi, Like her Facebook page, facebook.com/claimyourshero