Have you ever driven past a town sports complex at like 4 o’clock in the afternoon and thought to yourself, “How are these people able to be at a game now…don’t they work?”. Unfortunately in 2021 in the United Sates, unless you’re someone who gets out of work early or someone who does shift work, you are most likely working 9 to 5 or 8 to 5 or 24 hours a day depending on where you work. Many people find it difficult to put 100% into their jobs and 100% into parenting most days because work takes up so much time. It’s important though to force yourself to have a healthy balance or else you’re going to be unhappy. Believe it or not, it is possible to be a part of your son or daughter’s after school sports life, but also not get fired from your job. Here’s a couple ways you can be an A plus employee and an A plus parent:
One Word: COMMUNICATION
This isn’t a secret, but a huge key to life in general is communication. It’s extremely important when you want to have a work life balance. If you work a 9 to 5 job and want to be at your kid’s game at 3pm, unless you can teleport, you’re going to have to tell someone. (Although even if you can teleport people are gonna realize you disappeared.) If you’re in a role where you can come and go as you please, then you’re lucky, but if you report to a manager, or are meeting with clients all day, setting expectations is really important. If you know your son or daughter has a soccer game on a Thursday, at the beginning of the week you should let your boss know and then remind them again the day before and the morning of. Over communicating is much better than telling them as you’re running out the door.
Be Ready to Be Flexible
Just because you have a kid, it doesn’t mean you’re more important than your co-worker who doesn’t and only have to work 6 hours a day since you get out early to coach your son’s baseball team. If you are going to be a dedicated coach, it’s important to realize that you’ll need to be flexible at work. Whether it’s coming in a few hours earlier or working later after the game, showing your boss that you still plan on putting in the necessary time to get your work done will benefit you in the long run. From time to time, you may also have to be a little late to little Johnny’s baseball game (I know God forbid you miss the first inning of your little guy’s 15 hour baseball game, but they’ll be plenty of innings to play when you get there). The important thing is you’re doing your best to be as flexible as possible.
Set Expectations with Your Child
When I played sports, my parents were at just about every game and practice that I had, and I had a lot of them. Throw in 2 younger brothers and they were running around to baseball fields, basketball courts, football fields and soccer fields for like 15 years. As a kid you don’t realize how much dedication and time that takes on their part but after becoming a parent and seeing it on the other end, it can be an extremely tough task. If you are a parent with a crazy work schedule, a doctor or police officer or something along those lines and you don’t think you’re going to be able to dedicate a ton of time to being a coach, don’t sign up to become a coach and also let you son or daughter know that you might not be able to be at every single one of their games. It’s a lot better for them to think that you aren’t going to be coming to your game and you surprise them by showing up rather than telling them you’ll be there and then continually not showing up.
Life is all about being able to manage expectations and juggling a bunch of things at once. Parenting is no different so decide what type of parent you’re going to be when it comes to work and sports and do the best you can, that’s all your son or daughter can ask for.