Saturday, July 30, 2016

Family, Work, & Money

For the past week, I've wanted to write about prioritizing family time over work hours.  Then, the inevitable happened.  I got offered about 160% full-time hours during the month of February and March, just before the birth of our first baby.  All of the sudden, I'm in this predicament.  Am I going to walk the talk?  Am I going to place my wife and daughter in a higher pecking order than my work?  How do I balance the need to provide vs. the need to be at home and relationally connected to them?
I mentioned my predicament to Sara, and she responded, "I think you should turn down the extra work."
At this point, all sorts of insecurity triggers and defense mechanisms started running around my mind because what if my director doesn't like that I don't want to pick up the hours?  What if she finds my healthy boundary to be unacceptable?  What if she gets angry?  What if she doesn't like me?  What if I lose job potential in the future for prioritizing my wife and future daughter in the present?
The what-if's can be overwhelming, but I had to listen to Sara's emotional heart, even though my physical heart was pounding with anxiety over the thought of causing a stir with my director.
So, trusting it was the right thing to do, and trusting that Sara would support me no matter the outcome, I contacted my director to let her know that I'd be able to take part of the extra workload but not all of it.  She replied quickly and favorably, saying she'd start looking for someone else to fill the hours.
I'm still at 120% full-time for the next ten weeks, which actually feels like a huge blessing instead of a detriment.  It will bring in some extra money, but it will leave plenty of time for Sara and I to have the personal time that we need over the next couple months leading up to the due date.
Finding a healthy balance between work, family, and money can get tricky.  Some of us waver more towards a workaholic-mindset, while others of us waver more towards laziness or job-hopping.  Both ends of the spectrum reveals a spouse or spouses who are unbalanced in financial and relational needs.  Somewhere in the middle is where I believe most of us were meant to land.  There will be seasons in which we must take on more work than we want and seasons when work doesn't have much to offer us, but when possible, I believe that fighting for time with spouse and family is crucial, even if it doesn't afford us the affluence we desire.  If our spouse knows that we fight for time with family, then I believe trust will grow more and more in this area, even if the balance is occasionally off during certain seasons.