How to Tune Out Work and Tune In Kids

3 easy tricks for busy mamas

How to Tune Out Work and Tune In Kids

People often wonder how I strike balance between being a business owner and a busy mama.

When you’re an entrepreneur, having a holiday completely disconnected from work is almost impossible. My situation is even a bit trickier because I’m the company spokesperson. I get calls or e-mails from media folks at all times of the day and quite frankly, I don’t want to miss them. Indeed, it’s my job NOT to. If someone reaches out at 8:00pm for a quote to go to press in the morning, I’m giving a quote and tucking kids into bed at the same time.

So how do I disconnect with work so that I can connect with my family? I’ll admit, I don’t have it mastered. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t, but I keep on trying.

Here are three things I strive to commit to:

 Don’t have the laptop open during family movie night:

We’ve all tried this one. We think we can trick our kids into thinking we’re watching a movie with them while we get a bit of work done. The thing is, sooner or later someone says “Hey mom, I don’t get what just happened” and you’re caught. We parents think it’s acceptable to do because we’re not actually “doing” anything with them, just watching TV. For anyone who questions whether TV is social, just hop on Twitter when there’s a new Mad Men episode and watch the banter. TV is social and there are plenty of opportunities to engage around the boob tube. Besides, actually being with your kids instead of faking it is way more fun.

 Watch them play sports:

Of course there are occasions where you have to send an e-mail or answer your phone while attending your child’s sports activities. I try to warn my kids when I am expecting a call and let them know that they may look up once in a while to see me distracted by a work call. They understand that. But imagine your child scoring his or her first goal and excitedly looking up to you for a cheer only to find you staring down at your gadget. Yes, that was the sound of your child’s heart breaking in disappointment. That e-mail doesn’t seem so important now, does it?

 Wrap up that call:

We all know it’s a big “no-no” to walk in the house after a day at work while on a phone call. Nothing says "I love you” like shushing and motioning kids away when they are greeting you enthusiastically. Many parents sit in the driveway to finish off that call. Personally, I don’t even pull in to our court. I never know who will be playing outside or waiting at the window watching for my car to pull up. I finish calls on side streets so that my enthusiasm will match theirs when we are reunited after a work day.

Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t and sometimes readjusting takes place. What tricks do you have? Do you have any self-imposed “rules” around work and connectedness?