Balancing work, family, and fun
In this sea of advice on juggling work, home, and leisure, our approach to balancing life is a bit different. We kick it off by handing it over to God. Now, saying a quick prayer like, “God, help me balance all these parts of my life,” might sound easy, but here’s the tricky part: letting go and giving it to God.
It’s like I’m handing it over but keeping a tiny floss attached, you know? When things don’t go the way “I” want, I give it a little tug and try to take control of the balance. It’s a journey, for sure!
Let me kick things off by sharing that I’ve been on the road for 50–75% of the last 3.5 years with my previous job. But let’s rewind a bit further. About half a year before my role shifted at work, my wife and I said no to travel opportunities about six times.
Why? Well, because it meant we’d be apart, and that was a big deal for us. We’d been married for 11 years, and except for a few nights (which were pretty tough), we hadn’t spent more than 3 nights apart since our wedding day.
Those 3 nights were supposed to be 5, but my wife couldn’t take it, so she pulled the kids out of school and drove 8 hours early. We were missing each other like crazy.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. God might’ve chuckled when He heard us say no to free travel and a chance to help young folks grow. It was like He said, “Hold on, you’re in for a shake-up.” Sure enough, six months later, my job changed, and I was “asked” (you know how that goes) to start traveling if I wanted to keep my job.
Initially, it was supposed to be a single tour of our company, but that turned into hitting the road for 50–75% of the time for the next 3.5 years. Life sure knows how to throw a curveball!
Let me be clear: we’re not complaining here. I genuinely enjoyed the whole travel experience. It’s been quite something—the attention, the questions like “Where are you off to this week?” People would marvel at my lifestyle, saying, “Man, I wish I had a job like that.” While it was cool going to different places and catching up with “friends” (colleagues), the downside was leaving my family every other week.
It became a routine for me; the kids got used to it, and even the dog adjusted. Now, my wife? Not so much. She never quite adapted to the new routine. I get it; she was holding down the fort, looking after our four kids, the milk cows, chickens, horses, dogs, and cats, PTO duties, school volunteering, chauffeuring the kids to lacrosse, acting, gymnastics, orchestra, doctor appointments, and grocery shopping… You name it. I can’t blame her for not being thrilled every time I hit the road. It did put a strain on our marriage at times.
When things got tough, we’d bow our heads and turn to God for help. He was our anchor in those moments.
With a change in perspective, we discovered some valuable time management practices that could benefit you too. While these aren’t universal fixes, they worked wonders for us.
Initially, we set aside dedicated times for one-on-one activities with each kid, tailored to their interests. Whether it was hunting, going for lunch, playing video games, or engaging in a Nerf gun war, we aimed to make each child feel special.
Weekend camping became a new tradition for us. As soon as I got home on Fridays, Jenna had the truck packed, and off we went to explore national parks or mountains. Simply setting up a tent and unwinding for a day proved to be refreshing.
In addition, we committed to doing at least one family activity every weekend. Whether it was a board game night or a relaxed family movie session, the goal was to ensure both collective and individual moments with each child. These simple changes made a significant impact on creating meaningful connections within our family.
Let me be straight with you: the whole traveling gig was tough on our marriage. I’ll own up to it—all the fights, the hurt feelings, and every bit of disrespect—that’s on me. We both realized that, in a bid to protect ourselves from the pain of my constant departures, we put up shields and distanced ourselves. We’d have a great Friday and Saturday, but by Sunday afternoon, the walls would go up to make the impending separation hurt less.
How did we tackle this? Well, we amped up our evenings. And no, not what you’re thinking. We found TV shows that we both enjoyed and made it a point to watch them together, just being close as we shared those moments. Books played a crucial role too; diving into the literature on marriage, especially the insights from “The Five Love Languages,” worked wonders. It helped us more than words can express.
Gradually, we transitioned from creating distance to embracing the time we had together. We started living for each other, and that made all the difference.
Prioritizing life may sound simple, but trust me, it’s trickier than it seems. Here’s a quick exercise for you: list the 3–4 most important things in your life, then prioritize them. For me, it’s God, family, and work. Now, take a moment to think—are you living by these priorities? I’ll admit, I wasn’t. Work had taken the driver’s seat, pushing God and family to the back.
So, I set some goals and took action to reshuffle my priorities. I started waking up 30 minutes earlier every day to dive into scripture and prayer. Schedule work around family, making it clear that family comes first. If the boss needed me somewhere urgently, I’d negotiate for a shorter trip or suggest a slight delay.
Let me give a shoutout to my amazing and understanding wife. Last year, I messed up on her birthday. I got caught up in work and missed it. She never complained, but I realized I should never have put her in that situation. Lesson learned: priorities matter.
The bottom line here is that if your life isn’t perfectly aligned with your priorities at this very moment, that’s okay. We’ve all been there. But here’s the crucial part: don’t wait to get it sorted. You can always find ways to make more money, but time with your kids, your wife, and your connection with God—that’s irreplaceable. It’s a valuable reminder to straighten things out sooner rather than later. Time is a currency you can’t earn back.
Let’s pause for a moment and give a big shout-out to God for everything in my life. He’s the reason I’m here, living and breathing. Plus, I’m convinced that I went through that tough season for a purpose. God wanted me to learn something, and now I’m in a position to pass that wisdom on to help others. It’s all part of the grand plan.
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