The Struggle of the Productive Parent

The business that comes with parenthood is something the I could not even begin to understand before my wife and I had kids. The entire time that the kids are awake you are on the clock. Mix that in with a full time job and the fact that even when they are sleeping you must be prepared to respond at a moments notice if you are needed by your kids. This leads to only small blocks of time truly being available on a given day. Before the kids are awake or after they go to bed.

With my son and daughter being on very different schedules right now I find I have only a couple of hours on either end that I could use productively. Night time is not really optimal for creative work, I find it is much more likely for the kids to wake up. I am also exhausted by the end of the day and even when I do try and get some work done I do not find myself performing at my best. This is also when I try and reset the house for the following day taking care of picking up, doing the dishes and scooping the litter boxes.

So that leaves the morning it is definitely the optimal time so much so that it becomes a challenge to decide what I want to use that time for. I do yoga and meditate every morning so that takes about a half and hour. I want to start getting in more consistent workouts in and this would be the time to do it. I also need some time to write so I can continue to hone my skills and see what I can make of it financially.

This would be a challenging balance even if I was waking up early enough to have a couple hours everyday before work. But I have been struggling to establish and really stick to this schedule. I keep finding myself wanting to dink around on my laptop before bed. It isn’t unreasonable of me to want sometime to chill after a long day and I would preferably be able to bake some in. But until the kids routines line up a little better I am stuck with this schedule and need to make it work.

After having a particularly exhausting day from lack of rest I have realized yet again that I need to prioritize sleep and health above all else. I am not going to be able to perform creatively if I am exhausted when I get up from lack of sleep. Nor will I be able to perform from low energy levels if I let my workout slip for too long. I cannot rely on BJJ for my workouts when I hardly have time to go. This situation is temporary and I need to figure out how to make it work for me holistically so I do not set myself up poorly down the line.

My entrepreneurial pursuits fill me with passion right now and I am starting to see how I can achieve them. This is no reason to abandon the healthy habits that I need to function at the high levels that I want to. In fact it is likely a reason to double down on my healthy habits. Rebuild my sleep routine first and foremost. Then get my workout routine up and running to at least three days a week. For right now I need to accept the fact that I am in a family season of life and will be limited in my other pursuits for right now.

This has been my struggle trying my best to be a productive parent with a new born and a toddler. I hope that my insights for my own situation might help shed some light onto yours. If you are feeling flustered and out of control you likely need to step back and evaluate what you are trying to accomplish within whatever season of life you are currently in. Then decide if right now is the right time and if it is then how are you going to make it work within your set of responsibilities.

Working to accomplish something is never an excuse to neglect your other responsibilities in life. That is why my family always comes first even when I really want to work on my other pursuits. The tides will shift eventually and I will gain back some of my attention that I can then spend how I like. Accepting whatever life position you are in right now, frees you to then make the best decision you can while still maintaining your current responsibilities. You may not be able to do everything you want to do right now but it may surprise you how much you can still get done.

I refuse to accept the notion that I cannot accomplish big things while still being a present and loving dad. I know the solution is out there and I must continue the hunt until I get everything to line up how I want it to (who knows if this is actually possible). I know that one day I will look back at this challenging time in my life and think ‘man I am glad I kept going’ things may be hard right now. But one day you will realize the foundation you built now is what you will be standing on for years to come.

Does this resonate with you other parents out there? For those non parents I will add that it really is all worth it, just be prepared to not get out much for the first few years if you choose to have kids. Just a little insight into some of my current struggles let me know if this resonates with you at all. Follow my blog for regular updates on when posts go live.

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