Dear Aunty B
I am devastated. Watching Steve Bracks (Victorian Premier) resign this morning I felt so guilty! For the past 10 years I have worked 12 hour days and at least one day on the weekend.
I have three kids under 15 – even younger than Bracks’s kids – and I rarely see them in the week as they are in bed when I leave and when I get home. And when I do get home I am often distracted and thinking about work.
It takes up so much space in my brain having to be across marketing, sales, finances, staff and clients. Bracks says he has given body and soul – so have I!
But what will happen? Are we not giving our children enough time? Will we have teenagers with the same problems as Bracks’s son? Is Steve Bracks at fault? How does everyone else cope?
Oh, get a grip. I have met thousands of entrepreneurs who work very long hours and have perfectly functioning families whose sons don’t drink drive, ram their parent’s cars into trees and land their friends in hospital.
Now I know that Bracks’s resignation is going to trigger collective guilt and fear in all of us for every time we have ever been late picking up our child or feeding them the same meal three days in a row. (You haven’t? Spaghetti bol? Liar.)
But you obviously feel that you are not spending enough time with your family and I have a question that I want you to answer honestly. Would you rather be at the office than with the kids? Because there is no reason on earth you cannot work a day from home with remote computer access and a Blackberry.
Or do a school drop off, or a pick up. You know you drive your staff mad (all bosses drive their staff mad) and they would get far more done if you were out of the office one day a week.
If you can’t get away from the office, the other tip is to be VERY involved.
The entrepreneurs I know who have the sane children – and a good marriage (imagine that!) – are very involved with their children. If they travel, they are running the home from interstate and read bedtime stories over the phone.
They might come home very late but they always have dinner with the kids. They might be distracted but they always know what is happening in the kid’s and their friend’s lives. They also manage to be on the committees and run the market stalls.
But I, like you, would like to know how everyone copes. Should the hardworking Bracks take some responsibility for his son’s problems? Can you have a functioning business, marriage and family? Can you have it all?
Send in your thoughts and tips! I could so with a few – and we’ll send you a great book on the best wine to drink (after you have quality time with the kids).
Email: [email protected]
Sharlene at eteam writes: Dear Aunty, I would like to make my comments regarding Bracks resignation to focus on his family. I think Mr Bracks has done a wonderful thing for “his family”. I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer regarding work/family life balance and it has to be an individual family decision.
I have my own small business, work part time for another company, have three teenagers and a supportive executive husband. I would go crazy if I was a stay at home full time mum. We all put in, the kids are involved where they can be and it seems to be working.
Only time will tell but I think most people do the best they can do to for fill and satisfy their family and career aspirations.
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