Recently, I attended a speech on the topic of parenting. The speaker was great. I agreed with the majority of what he said, but his suggestion that parents increase the amount of time we spend with our children rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, it all sounds good on paper, but the reality is that most of us are trying to cram 30+ hours into a 24 hour day. If we plan to spend more time with our children and then fail to do so, it creates guilt or anxiety which is no good for anyone. With all the expectations put on us in our professional and private lives, we don’t need any more reasons to feel inadequate. I thought long and hard and, after much deliberation decided that it’s just not possible. I do my very best and give all the attention that I can to my family. In my opinion, what’s most important is the quality of time spent, not the quantity. Being extremely present in the limited time you do have with your family can go a long way. And if they could be doing something better with their time, who am I to prevent them? For example, I love spending time with my daughter Charlie, but I can't teach her how to do a pirouette. She must spend time with her ballet instructor to learn that. Its best to use your limited time together giving what only you can - unconditional love. The most memorable moments with my daughter happen when I am present enough to recognize and seize the opportunity. For example, one morning while driving my daughter Charlie to school, we saw a red fox dart across the road. I
The answer to “Sandwich Generation” retention How do you retain your valuable employees who find themselves in the “Sandwich Generation” - a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children? Imagine an employee who leaves work 30 mins early to pick up mom’s prescription, then fights traffic for another 45 minutes to get to the daycare on time and avoid the exorbitant late fee. Once they are home, they whirl around the kitchen, trying to whip together a healthy meal for their family while struggling with the guilt from missed time at the office. I’m sure this is all too familiar for most of you. After all, the Pew Research Center, reported just over one of every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between seven and ten million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. These individuals are at war with themselves - struggling with demands from so many with so few hours in the day. They know the importance of putting family first, but they also know what is expected of them at the office. For the ones I know, their professional life is a safe haven. It is the place where they can give 100% and reap tremendous rewards with often quantifiable measures of success. It feeds their sense of accomplishment, pays their bills and hopefully allows them to financially prepare for their own “golden years”. That is unless it is totally derailed by the competing factors previously mentioned. Do you doubt for a minute that it happens? You know it does. The question isn’t IF it happens, but rather how frequently.