By Guest Blogger, Tim Chandler
There is no level of success worth neglecting your family. Alternatively, I could say success is being present for your family. Most men have a hard time finding a balance in this area. We have an innate desire to provide. If we cannot provide, we find ourselves feeling inadequate or unaccomplished. The women, children, and loved ones in our lives often seem to have a never-ending list of wants and so-called “needs.” The pressure to deliver can be overwhelming.
Try providing for your family without having a reliable source of income. Then, try having a reliable source of income without making any time commitments to whatever it is that provides said income. Once you are done with that, try committing the time needed to generate enough funds to provide ALL the wants and needs on the family’s list while—at the same time—not finding yourself at odds with your family. In all likelihood, you will find yourself at odds with them, and thus…many men have found themselves trapped in this circle I call “The Great Conundrum.”
Given that this is an entry I am writing for my wife’s blog, nine out of ten readers are likely female. This means, by this point, you are sarcastically thinking to yourselves, “well…Husband of The Snarky Mom, way to paint a picture of hope.” In the meantime, that one guy reading this has been grinning from ear-to-ear because the funniest jokes are only funny because they are true. To be clear, I believe hope is critical to the health of the human psyche. To also be clear, the picture I painted, for many a man, is still accurate AF. Which begs the question, is that one guy grinning so hard because he is mentally all screwed up? Never mind…that’s a topic for another day.
Fortunately for you, I am a master of segues. See…I just segued. Moving on…I have three (3) recommendations I believe will help men who have encountered similar challenges:
Recommendation Number 1: Make peace with the fact that you will likely never find the “perfect balance” when so many unpredictable variables are at play. I know…this is not what you want to hear, but it is definitely what you need to know. Men, you will fail and grow discouraged upon finding you have not attained the unrealistic goal(s) you have set for yourselves. For identical reasons, you should not anticipate that achieving your goal(s) will yield fruit, which realistically, will never be attained.
For example, let’s say your wife wants a new home. She has been asking when the family can move and has been listing all the reasons the family needs a new chateau; one with more room, one that is closer to amenities, and so on. You should, if at all possible, play whatever role you can in helping to make her request a reality. However, you should not expect that once you get that new home, she will have nothing else to ask of you with regards to your living arrangement. To assume such a thing would be foolish. Trust me. This new house will “need” new furniture, a flower bed, a bigger TV, upgraded appliances, among other things, and guess what? You will be expected to deliver.
The sooner you make peace with the fact that you are indeed the provider, that you beat your chest about so often, the sooner you will be able to appreciate all the opportunities to provide for your family. The fact that there is no perfect balance is exactly what makes the role you have uniquely designed for you.
In my opinion, recommendation number one is the most important. Coming to peace with this understanding (however many times you must) is necessary to clear your mind; reduce stress; and make informed, intentional decisions. You will neglect your family if you are distracted or see them as a source of challenges you cannot manage.
If my darling, loving wife allows, I will return with the remaining two (2) recommendations. In the meantime, we can all benefit from pondering how to accept the things we cannot change, change the things that need changing, and identify which is which.