It Takes a Village and It’s Not Just a Cliché

Raising a child is a monumental task for any parent—whether it’s the year 1, the 1400’s, or 2018. That’s why the concept of “the village” has remained so crucial to child rearing.

The Perks and the Pitfalls

There’s no specific definition of the people in “the village” other than they generally include family, friends, and neighbors, give or take a few. Even before you have children—when you’re pregnant—your people are there to help, give advice, and also, annoy you.

But that’s the beauty of a community-based support system. Everyone needs a hand now and then. And, we also grow and feel a sense of fulfillment when we’re the helper. It’s a give-and-take, information-sharing, and learning/teaching system; Cultivating that philosophy can help you, your children, and your family feel secure—especially in times of parenting dire straits.

How to Build Your Own Village

You may really like your existing biological or married-into family. And they may live nearby. And they may be willing to lend some advice, a hand, some babysitting, and some money. But that’s a lot of some “maybes.”

Most Americans aren’t fortunate enough to check “yes” to all (or even one) of the boxes above. We’re a transient society for the most part, and, face it, family as it was celebrated in the old country, just doesn’t exist here anymore that often. That’s why it’s necessary for young parents to cultivate their own village within their large circle of circumstance.

When They’re Babies…

If mom or dad is fortunate enough not to have to go into the office when a baby is young, it’s an ideal time to make new tribal friends. “Mommy and Me”–type classes are a great way to meet new parents like yourselves. Local parks, zoos, and shopping centers are always full with parents looking for ways to occupy their little ones outside the home. These are ideal environments to meet like-minded peers.

If you’re going to work, many coworkers will share the experience of having their children in daycare, too. It’s a great starting-off conversation point.

Don’t be afraid to chat about your lack of: sleep, healthy meals, sex, or even an adult conversation. Everyone with an infant or toddler is in the same playpen.

When They’re in Primary School…

Volunteering is an awesome way to meet other parents and your kids’ peers. Go to all the meetings, presentations, and shows, if your schedule allows. You’ll find you run into the same adults over and over. Some you will feel an affinity with—others you wished you never met. Either way, they’re part of your extraneous village, and you need to be respectful and grateful to have them aboard.

After-school activities are also another way to collect more members into your kinship. Someone’s always got to divvy up snack-duty, cleanup, or keep score.

By Middle School…

If you haven’t moved locations too often when the kids were really young, by middle school, you should have at least a foot (if not a strong standing) within a workable, helpful village.

By this point, you can trust other parents to drive your kid home from school or a birthday party. You, too, can be expected help other families when their kids need rides or food, or a place to stay until another working parent finally gets home after dark.

By High School…

At this point, it becomes a lot more serious. Sex, alcohol, drugs, impulsivity and other teenage perilous behaviors come into play during this stage of parenting. This is where your village needs to be fortuitous and candid.

If anyone in your village thinks their kid isn’t partaking in (or at least witness to) any of the above, it may be time to offer them a neighborly wake-up call.

No one likes snoops or snitches. But when it comes to your child’s welfare, maybe that’s what a villager’s job is when your kid is a teen. Letting another parent gently know that their child was seen doing  (fill in the blank), can cause embarrassment and defensiveness. But if the information ultimately helps the child, the parent, or the family overall, perhaps your village duty has been accomplished admirably.

Village, People!

However you decide to parent and whatever obstacles have led to hardships in your parenting arena, know that out there, somewhere, there is a village ready to embrace you and yours.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

Is Work/Life Balance Even Possible?

How do we find the perfect work/life balance?   This is a question we have all asked ourselves but many of us don’t sit down and plan the solution?  If you are an entrepreneur, this is an essential undertaking to keep your family, sanity, and productivity all in check.  How do we manage and achieve it all?  Following some essential steps, it’s possible to navigate a business in a positive direction, while keeping life organized and in a state of equilibrium.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY

Managing a business may seem as simple as a business plan, achievable goals, and deadlines, but what happens when there is an entire team to manage?  Tracked communication is a great way to open up conversations amongst a group, in a time efficient manner.  Examples of websites which accomplish this include:  www.asana.com , www.trello.com  www.monday.com.  They help specifically project manage either an individual or a team by documenting workload, schedules, and assignments.   Using a tool like these sites allows the team to visualize their work day each morning, so attainable results are achieved by the end of the day.

Staff also now have the advantage of viewing their personal goals and timeframes, while also interacting with the other team members.  Many of these websites have a free version or trial, which makes it easy to explore.  The following points, will not only help in the work place, but with life in general too:

  • Invest in a project management app/website and populate it with weekly/monthly team targets
  • Set realistic daily deadlines, with accomplished tasks ticked off from the previous day. There’s a motivational satisfaction when jobs are crossed off and the team will see results.
  • Management should not overstretch their staff. There are only so many hours in a day.
  • False promises should not be made to clients.
  • Smaller tasks should be outsourced. A Website like peopleperhour.com  is a convenient resource.
  • If a deadline looming, switching off email for a period of time can help prevent distractions.
  • Get away from the desk. If high speed wifi is available, almost anywhere can become an office, where work can be accomplished while sipping that latte.

 

LIFE BALANCE

Trying to please everyone can be mentally and physically exhausting.  Set limits and don’t be afraid to say no.  It is proven that a work-life balance leads to higher levels of productivity.  It is possible to achieve results without compromising happiness:

  • Carve out time everyday for friends or family, no matter how hectic life is. Happiness at home will project positively on to work place performance.
  • All work and no play can lead to stress and a severe case of dull person syndrome. Switch off the phone and partake in activities like exercise or hobbies.
  • Weekly/monthly responsibilities at home should be shared, if possible, so they do not creep into work hours.
  • Take time to be healthy. Eat right, sleep 6-8 hours, aim for some sort of activity each day, even if it’s just a walk.

We are all trying to succeed within a small space of time, and how we manage that time shapes our success and happiness.  Self discipline and organization are tools that can help achieve that.  LIVE TO WORK is so yesterday, the future is WORK TO LIVE.  There may be a few hiccups along the way but with determination and focus work-life balance can be accomplished.

 

To learn more about work-life balance, check out GetThrive.com

 

References

www.asana.com

www.trello.com

www.monday.com

www.peopleperhour.com