Unfinished Business // THE WORKING PARENT

I have just completed a large project for a company, looking at the child care needs of their call centre staff.

One of the things that excited me about this work, was I got to meet some of the people behind the voices we hear every day on the phone when we reach out for help. How many times do we find ourselves needing to call a generic number for a bank, medical aid, telephone services, municipality services and we hear “we will connect you to our soonest available agent…” and suddenly, thankfully there is a human being to  engage with and not a computer.

I am so grateful to be heard and have my problem understood, that I have not begun to think about the other person on the end of the line.

While working with this group of call centre staff, I began to discover they are trained to care for their clients, but there has been little or no time to work through their own problems.

How many of us go off to work with unfinished business at home?

What does unfinished business even look like?

It could be that the last thing you said to your child was a sharp “hurry up you idiot”, it might be not having prepared the bottles for your baby to give to the Care-giver, or no time to make your child’s packed lunch for school. It might be that you have no clue what your child is going to do after school today because your Nanny is off sick, or how he is getting home from school because Granny is on holiday.

It could be a host of things, but the common thread is the knot in the stomach we feel. That  “ oh if only….” – that is the unfinished business! Something that we feel or know is incomplete. Sometimes, because of technology we can complete it with a call or sms. Sometimes it will need more than that.

How can we avoid the “unfinished business”?

By “completing our business”!

With  practical things, it is may be about time management – why do we put off to tomorrow what can or needs to be done today? That is where the crisis starts – Stephen Covey, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about starting with the end in mind – when we apply this to our home and work situation some things become clearer.

Think for a moment where the pressured times of your day are?

List them.

Then write each item on a separate piece of paper and follow these questions and write the answers in order :-

  • What would you like to change about it?
  • What is in your control to change?
  • What would this time look like if it is unpressured?
  • What could you change right now to contribute to that unpressured time?
  • What else could you do to improve it?
  • Is there anything else ?
  • Is there anything or anyone preventing you from making those changes you have identified today?
  • If so what can you do to change that?
  • And if that is dealt with, is there anything else that would prevent you from making these changes you have identified in to action?
  • When will you make these changes?

Enjoy your less pressurised situation!!!

Let me give you an example:

If one of your pressured times of the day is getting out the door every day to take baby to crèche, and child to school with everything you need for them and for yourself to get to work on time. And at the moment, you often arrive at work late and get into trouble.

  • Identifying that I want to get to work on time is my major issue, I hate screaming at the kids to get in the car and often the older one has forgotten something for school. This is my “pressured time”.
  • It is all in my control.
  • If this was unpressured, I could have a nice chat with my child in the car, I would be able to chat with the Nanny at the crèche and not feel like I am dumping my baby and running and I would arrive at work on time and therefore have a happier relationship with my boss.
  • I could make the pack lunch the night before, I could make sure Jane has packed her school bag the night before and put it by the front door. I can pack the nappy bag for crèche the night before and put it by the front door
  • I can wake up 10 minutes earlier so I am dressed before I wake the children
  • I can plan breakfast the night before
  • I will lay out all our clothes the night before, so we know what to put on in the morning
  • There is nothing preventing me from doing this from tonight onwards
  • I will explain to Jane (and husband or wife) what is going to change and why and ask her to do her part. Get her involved.
  • Put it into practice!

If you have unfinished business and need help to work it out – contact me for a coaching session face to face or over skype and we can work together to enable you, to empower you to complete your business and find the work/life balance you can enjoy!


About parentcoachsa

Steph has over 30 year's experience working with families to design child care solutions and supporting parents to be the best parents they can be. In addition she has worked with corporates to find work-life balance solutions for their staff. As a practitioner I have become increasingly aware that work-life balance has become a critical issue, particularly in an age in which the demands of work are often at odds with home and family life. I am passionate about family life, it is the catalyst for every other relationship we have - in every other area of life, we expect to study, get a qualification, try something on appro , we want to feel in control - however it is the one area of life, that none of the above applies - Babies do not arrive with a parenting manual! It is my privilege as a Parent and Life Coach, to partner with you as you take hold of the challenges you are facing in your family, in your life and work with you , supporting you to achieve the decisions and outcomes you are choosing for your family and for your life. It is my job, to keep you on track, to cheer you on, when the "going gets tough". Through coaching, understanding of yourself and your child, and his or her phase of development will enable you to consciously develop a parenting style that will benefit you and your family.
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One Response to Unfinished Business // THE WORKING PARENT

  1. Susan van Ryneveld says:

    Very practical and useful. Good, succinct advice.

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