Scheduling time with your kids can’t wait… now is the time.
A few years ago I was dating a guy who had grown up with a stay at home mother. One day while we were at the grocery store he commented on the fond memories he had of riding in the cart as a child while his mother did their weekly food shopping.
I was shocked by the emotional response I had… jealousy!
I don’t have a single memory of grocery shopping with my parents.
Growing Up in an Entrepreneurial Family
As the child of two workaholic serial entrepreneurs, my predominant childhood memories are of my father leaving for business trips, my mom dropping me off at the babysitters house, and my mother picking me up from the babysitters house just to take us home and continue working.
As a child was not acutely aware of missing my mother or of wanting something from her that she was not available to give me. I saw her everyday and I had other maternal figures in my life. However, I was acutely aware of missing my father.
Additionally, I have memories of drawing pictures for my dad inviting him to stay home and stop traveling. When I gave him these pictures, he would smile, hug me and tell me how much he loved me, but at the end of the day he always left again.
By the time I had entered high-school, both my parents had transitioned out of their management consulting company and redirected their time and energy into local community ventures.
For the first time in my life, having both parents home was my norm. My Dad drove me to school every morning until I got my license. We had a lot of fun together during those four years. I even had a chance to sing in the house reggae band at his new restaurant.
Then I graduated and left for college. That was thirteen years ago.
For the first six or seven years of this time spent away I received daily phone calls from my father, “Charlie… it’s your Daddy… I miss you… Call me!”
When I did talk to my father, he was always trying to get me to move home.
I began to notice that I was dreading my father’s calls and intentionally not calling him back. This made me feel confused. I loved my father, so why were his phone calls evoking this reaction?
After some reflection, I realized that I was down right angry that he was making me feel bad for being away. Sure we had some great times driving to school together and I miss that too, but what was I supposed to do stay in South Jersey and be his retirement buddy? After all, I was home for 18 years, while he was gone, and I never complained! If he had stayed at home with me, he would never have achieved all this things he did in his life. How dare he make me feel bad for following in his footsteps, stepping out into the world, and living my dreams!!
It took me about a year to work up the courage to say this to him. When I finally did he opened up to me in a way he hadn’t before. He apologized for his absence and admitted that he probably traveled more than he needed too, because it feed his ego and sense of adventure.
Once I had cleared the air we agreed that we needed to find ways to nurture our relationships from afar. We facetimed, he helped me with my business development, we met in New Orleans once a year for a few years in a row. Then on my 30th birthday I got a call that he had had a heart attack and was in the hospital.
Over the next two years he was in and out of the hospital and became increasingly housebound.
In the fall of 2016, I was shocked to realize I had a burning need to move home. I never ever thought I would move back here, but I knew my father was going to die soon and being with him suddenly felt like the most important thing in the world. No one was more surprised or more excited than my father. He called me everyday to ask for move updates and to throw me leads for local gigs. Before I knew what hit me I was packing up my house in Boulder and driving back to New Jersey.
Six months after I returned my father passed away, but not before meeting my partner, our puppy, and coming over for dinner at our newly purchased home.
Metric of Success
I love my parents, I am beyond proud of all they have accomplished, and I have limitless gratitude for the advantages that their work has provided me in my life.
I am going to do things differently. I am doing things differently.
My life has taught me that having time for the people I love, more than money or fame, is my metric of success.
Each week I have dinner with my extended family, spend one full day with my partner, and try to spend time with my nieces and nephews.
The moral of this story…
Schedule Time with Your Kids in Your Calendar
Don’t wait to make time with you children a priority.
They miss you now, but they might get used to it tomorrow.
If they get used to it tomorrow they may be gone for years.
When they leave you will regret the time you didn’t spend with them.
If they do decide to return, it might be too little too late.
Life is too short not to share every possible second with the people you love.
You don’t have to quit your job or sell your company, but take a look at the calendar.
What is on there?
Work appointments, doctor appointments, personal training sessions, and social event. What about your kids?
Schedule time with your kids in your calendar. Just do it!
You scheduled time with you kids, now what? If you need ideas for how to spend scheduled time with you kids or want other strategies for connecting with your kids… check out these e-books, brought to you by Rich Legacy:
8 Ways For Busy Dads To Improve Their Relationship With Their Children
8 Ways For Mompreneurs To Improve Their Relationship With Their Children