It’s not easy to get the right work life balance for you and your family.
But it is possible.
I’m often having conversations when people tell me
I’d love to get better work life balance but I can’t see how it is possible and I definitely can’t afford to step away from my path.
Will’s story is here to show you how, by following the key principles of the 6 Steps to Working Dad Success, you too can make real progress in your life.
Principle 1 - Talk honestly about what you truly want as a family.
Principle 2 - Work out your finances
Principle 3 - Know your options to achieve better work life balance
Q&A with Will
⭐ Tell me what life was like for you.
We had 2 children and I was struggling with my work hours. I didn’t see them in the morning, I was out house at 6am, not back before 7.30pm at the earliest
I was earning very good money, but I was doing it because I’d always done it.
When our son was 4, we didn’t get the primary school place that we really wanted. So, we decided to send him to a local private school. It was the right decision at the time, but it increased the pressure on me to carry on earning at the same level.
⭐ How did you feel about your life at that time?
Unhappy. So busy, too busy. And too tired at the weekends to enjoy our downtime.
⭐ What made you address it?
It was Easter when I said I couldn’t do it anymore. I think it was something about always seeing darkness. I decided I couldn’t tolerate how I was living any more. I could feel the signs that it was getting too much. The thing is I knew how bad it could get – I was an alcoholic (now 7 years clean). I didn’t want to reach rock bottom again before did something about it.
⭐ What did you do?
My wife and I went back to barebones – what matters to us and how do we do more of it? We decided to focus on what really makes you happy – gives you joy. For us it was about being there for the kids, rather than grand expensive gestures. In contrast to me my wife loves her job and it allows working from home too.
We started by trimming our income. We spoke to our son’s private school and the primary we wanted and managed to move schools – massively reducing our outgoings. My wife increased to 4 days a week – but 2 days a week from home. This saved us the money needed to give me to allow me to retrain, but I still needed to do it quickly.
I wanted to do something worthwhile to answer the question – “why am I here?”. It needed to build on the skills and experience I already had. I decided to become a financial advisor. The industry has moved on from the hard sales mis-selling scandals of recent years. It’s possible to be ethical
⭐ How is life now?
I love my life. I’m effectively self-employed, I get to set my own schedule, to help out at Cubs every week. I’m not too shattered by the time it comes to the weekend.
The downsides are I spend something like 40,000 miles a year in the car visiting clients, we have less income, and I’m never really ‘not working’, I can’t afford to miss contacting potential clients ‘just’ because I’m on holiday.
But those are relative downsides when set against the benefits and the opportunity to ‘be there’ regularly.
⭐ What are your top tips for other Dads?
✅ You have a choice
✅ Don’t wait for rock bottom – it’s not a lot of fun there.
✅ Identify what you what. Be honest.
It can be hard to see a way out but there are always choices, the option to take some control of your circumstances.
And hide your phone away when you are with your family – it stops you being ‘present’ and it causes you stress.
👉 To sum up
Will was struggling with his work life balance, even if his family were happy. This can be a tricky place to be, but knowing what rock bottom could mean, he knew the stakes were high. He needed to be vulnerable – to let go of the provider mentality.
His fear of rock bottom was greater than his fear of being honest.
✅ He was honest with his wife.
✅ He got her support. They communicated openly.
✅ They made and followed through with a plan.
His story is here as inspiration for you.