Balancing work and family: the daddy shuffle

Balancing work and family: the daddy shuffle

I’m a horrible dancer. I have 2 left feet, no rhythm and can be clumsy. There is only one dance that I’m good at—The Daddy Shuffle.

You don’t know the Daddy Shuffle? It’s similar to the Daddy Juggle, which was in a recent WSJ article. Let me tell you about the Daddy Shuffle.

My family means the world to me. I have a wonderful wife, two great kids and a loyal yellow Lab. I love spending time with them and being an engaged husband and father.

Work is also very important me. I’ve been at Quill.com for almost 15 years in merchandising and marketing. I enjoy taking on new challenges, learning new ideas, collaborating with my business partners and advancing my career.

These worlds often collide, and that’s my Daddy Shuffle—the balance between work and family. In the past, work usually won out. It was easier to devote my time to and was an excuse if I missed family events.

Over the past year, I’ve tried to learn the Daddy Shuffle. To help myself, I’ve established a couple of simple steps try to live by:

Step 1Try to spend the weekend with the family. If I have to work, I should do it when everyone is asleep or gone.

Step 2Limit screen time (phone, tablet, etc.) at home. I can only look at my phone or tablet when the kids go to bed during the week. It’s a good rule for me so I’m not consistently checking work emails while at home.

Step 3Don’t miss family activities (like my son’s baseball games and daughter’s band concerts) unless out of town. I need to leave at 5:00 to ensure that I get to these events in time. Or I can try to negotiate alternate work hours by starting earlier so I can leave on time.

Step 4If you need to stay late at work one night, call home to let the family know. This will help avoid the call from your wife wanting to know where you are and why you didn’t call.

Step 5Do not look at work emails while on vacation with the family. This is a hard one for me, and I’m still working on it. We’ll see if I get better with our vacation to South Dakota.

These rules have helped me balance work and family better over the last year. Despite the 2 left feet, I feel like I’m a good dancer when I do the Daddy Shuffle. Watch out tango—you’re next on my list!