Arielle Lankford, NP, nurse practitioner at Mission Pediatrics Franklin offers expert advice on balancing work and family, as seen in WNC Parent.
The wise and well known Dr. Seuss once wrote, “Be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.” While he was no MD, Dr. Seuss brings up something that healthcare providers are quite passionate about: balance. Have you ever stopped to think what this looks like for you as a parent? What do you do to ensure your life scale tips toward your family rather than toward your work?
While there are a multitude of ”steps” you can take to ensure you are prioritizing your family, you can start very simply by disconnecting. We live in an age when life revolves around electronics and social media, and it is vital to be aware of just how much technology is involved in your day. When you get home from work, rather than sitting down at the computer to work some more, greet your family with a hug and conversation. Turn off your phone for an hour. Sit down at the dinner table electronics free and see just how much of a difference it makes in conversation. These conversations with your family will help you get to know your child and their own struggles with balancing school, friends and activities. Instead of debating on what new profile picture or hashtag that fits, stop and be the picture of engagement.
Take the time from work to do fun things. Fun can be free! We live in an outdoor paradise that far too often we find ourselves too busy to enjoy. Get out and hike, swim, bike, fish or go see the elk. If it is a rainy day or you and yours aren’t into outdoors things go old school. Read together, do a puzzle or play a board game (this isn’t the same as bored!). These activities can encourage and foster conversations as well. Get involved. Be proactive in the activities your child may participate in, from sports to theater to clubs. It is okay to take time away from work to be present for your family.
Lastly, don’t forget that your child’s healthcare provider is not just for your child’s physical health. Our objective is to foster healthy growth and development, physically, emotionally, spiritually. We want to talk with you and encourage you as a parent to be an example. Your children are our future. Would we rather them be successfully submersed in work and social media or immersed in living a well-balanced life?
Arielle Lankford, NP is a nurse practitioner at Mission Pediatrics in Franklin, North Carolina.