Can fathers have it all? 6 tips for being an involved parent while pursuing your dreams

I’ve always been ambitious. Years spent working 9-5 then going home and working 5-whenever on my music career means I’m no stranger to the hard graft. Being busy and active and interesting in getting the most out of life has always been part of me; you get out what you put in right?! I’ve always wanted a family so for years I’ve been thinking about how i can be the involved father I always wanted to be (see previous post – what kind of Dad do you want to be?) without losing the enthusiasm for my passion. Luckily I’ve had people around me who have managed to achieve this balance so I’ve always known it is possible, but there’s always been the question of how it could work for me in practical terms, given everyone’s situation and circumstances can be very different.

5 months into family life and I think we are close to finding a system that works for us and allows us to still express ourselves creatively. I set up this blog on New Years Day 2016 while my daughter was just under three months old and have managed to make it to the studio twice in the last couple of weeks to work on some songs that will be on my debut album that I’ll be releasing in early 2016. Throughout this journey so far, I’ve identified 6 tips which I think will help you to pursue your dreams while being an involved father.

  1. Find a routine! – Once you have a set daily and weekly routine it then becomes easier to carve out time for your creative endeavours. Whether this means 30mins before bed while your partner does the last pre-bed feed or early in the morning before work, a settled routine means you are able to effectively schedule time for all duties.
  2. Teamwork Teamwork Teamwork – This is key! Before our daughter arrived, I never understood team work to this extent. You and your partner are a team who have to have each others back. This means covering for one another and allowing each time to spend time on themselves. As a team you have each have primary roles but must be flexible and willing to help each other out. As long as you have great communication and you put each other first, everyone wins. My wife and I often sacrifice our own energy or time to make sure that one another are able to do the things they need to do. Be sure to help out your partner and she’ll be more willing to do the same for you.
  3. Be more efficient – You are stripped of the most valuable resource in the world; time. This means that the little you have of it needs to be super productive. Less thinking about what you want to do and more DOING! If you have 30mins spare then every second of that time needs to be used effectively. This means no checking Facebook and Twitter for 10mins before you get started on your task! Train yourself to focus on the task at hand and be ruthless with execution. A lot of the time planning can be done on the go, maybe to and from work, so it’s that real spare time that you want to use to put the plans into action. When you have time to do something, cease the moment as with small children and babies around you never know what can happen 30mins from now!
  4. SMART objectives – Make sure you divide your overall goals into bite size objectives which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Simples.
  5. Change & Evolve – This is so important. As we grow and our circumstances change, we must adapt. In the corporate world I have noticed that the successful people are the ones that can most easily adapt to new environments. When we have a change in environment and circumstance, we must adapt our approach to be able to survive and keep on producing the service or product we were producing before. It’s more than likely that you have limited time and financial resources so you’ll need to think about what changes you can make to your approach to still ensure you can be productive. This may mean learning a new skill to save money not asking someone else to do it, or it could mean outsourcing things you used to do yourself to save time. It could also mean investing on some new equipment to enable you to work at home or on the move. Whatever your circumstance, be sure to evaluate what changes you need to make.
  6. Sacrifice Sleep! – At the end of the day when all is said and done, you’ll need to sacrifice sleep! Even if you do all the above, ultimately it’s your sleep that you’ll probably have to end up sacrificing. And if you want to pursue your dreams enough, this won’t be a problem. This is when you really find out how much you love your passion!

Do you have any top tips for balancing parenthood with chasing your dreams? Are you a parent who has successfully found a balance which works for you?

I’d love to hear from you.

Peace & Blessings

Elliott

 

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