Away from the family
Taking time away from the family can feel wrong, like you’re neglecting the ones you love. There’s no need to feel that way.
I used to feel spread out, like I had a lot on the go: the family, work, our involvement at church, our friends, the extended family too. Maybe you’re in that same situation, finding there are just too many mouths to feed, too many things to pursue.
It’s not fun feeling spread thin. And where do you have time for yourself in all of this? Taking time off means you need to say no to some stuff so that you can say yes to yourself. If you look at it that way, it seems as though you’re competing with your responsibilities. Yuck.
And what about your involvement in good causes? Those are important, but now that you have a family, you have to cut back on your involvement and that means you have to let some people down, people that you care for.
And then there’s work. The problem with it is that it can sometimes become more than just work. Sometimes it’s a whole separate universe, where you take on another personality and wear a role you need to get out of before coming back home. Or maybe it’s not that bad, and you can be the real you at work. Still, it’s hard to give work the best of you and still put your family first.
There’s no going around it though: you’re going to take time away from the family. Maybe we should keep those times at a minimum? Maybe. And maybe there’s a way to know when it’s a good idea to go out into the world.
Here’s the idea: instead of seeing yourself as leaving the family, think of it like you’re taking the family with you, in your mind. If you’re going to have some time alone, the whole family’s there with you. If you’re going to give to a good cause, the family is also there. And when you go to work, the family is alongside you there too. Only, the family isn’t really there. Since they can’t all be there with you, see it as if they have sent you there.
The family has sent you to go somewhere on the family’s behalf. You represent the family. When you’re out on a retreat or with your friends, you’re going away to bring something back: more energy, a clearer head, a better you. When you’re out helping a cause, the family has sent the best person to give to that cause. It’s the family giving to the cause, not just you. When you’re going to work, you’re both going to get some money to feed the family, and you’re out to help the world with the skill you have, being the only one in the family with that skill.
This idea may change which activities you choose to do. It did for me – I hang out with certain friends more, we changed some of the causes we’re involved in, and I certainly changed how I see my work. I feel more on top of things now and so does my wife. We can tell the kids participate in the new vision too: they want me to succeed in my work and they’re proud to see me go. Life is now a family project.
So no need to feel like you can’t get away from the family. It’s the family that’s sending you. Go do what you have to do.