Kids Health

Balancing work and family: A Dad’s perspective

All children crave is to be heard. Take out a little time every day for family.

By Sahil Malik

In the world today, with its fast-paced momentum and the pressure to outdo ourselves at each turn, it’s tough to balance our career as well as families. For me, it’s just that, a balance, and not some impossible goal.

It was a childhood hope and aspiration to be a part of something bigger than me, something that has an impact on the world, similar to how other children might dream of becoming pilots or astronauts. Cut to, me operating three premier companies and being the father of two children, with their own hopes and dreams that I have the responsibility to fulfil.

Enough stereotypes have been deployed in the world about how career-parents can never do justice to their kids, and it is always one or the other, never both. These stereotypes have no place in the world today, and definitely no place in my life with my family.

There is a simple mantra I use, something that puts everything in perspective for me—time. The best way to make sure you are giving your children enough attention along with fulfilling your work objectives is to take out time for your children while you make a business schedule; or vice versa. Simple things we do like having breakfast together and sometimes dinner as well. Mealtimes are the best time to get an update on your children, as all of us must remember that what children need is to be heard. Taking time out for them makes them feel that they are important to you, so do it during meals. They crave your time and attention, just as you do.

My younger daughter Samaira is just two years old and waits up for me at night, so I can tuck her in. Something as simple as tucking my children into bed, and reading them a story, or singing them a song creates a routine for them and makes them realise that their dad is present in day-to-day life.

Another important thing we do is find hobbies together. The week makes up a hectic and busy schedule for me, so on weekends, I spend time with my children and we indulge in various hobbies, like cricket and football. No matter what time I come back home on the weekday, I make sure to get up on time to play a heated match with my son, Samridh, who is seven, and so at a developmental stage where he is just starting to establish his hobbies, likes and dislikes. In order to be a part of this stage in his life, I have introduced him to different activities and sports.

It’s important to line everything up in perspective, as my children are my priority regardless of anything else. This is extremely easy for me personally, as my children, spending time with them, hearing about their day, their likes and dislikes are the perfect therapy for a bitter or hectic day at work.

My wife, Shivani and I are enthusiastic travellers, something my children have also inherited from us. We regularly take vacations together to different places in the world (with the children’s approval, of course!).

So, like I said, the stereotypes say that you are either a businessman or a parent, but with my wife’s support, and my constant determination to make my children a priority, I will continue to strive towards the perfect balance.

(The writer, a retail expert, is owner of Da Milano, WOOBA and Rosso Brunello. He is also a key member of the Champions for Change initiative run by the Government of India.)

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