This is a recent photo of me and my Dad. My Dad means absolutely everything to me and is my whole world. However, he has a myriad of health conditions that he developed nearly 2 years ago in October 2017 including epilepsy, mobility problems and he is now being assessed for possible dementia. Overnight my Dad changed from a strong and independent man who enjoyed life to having to be driven around everywhere and having so much done for him in his day to day life. Today I heard a comment that I shouldn’t put my parents first because “they won’t be around forever.” And this got me thinking.
I make no apologies for the fact that my Dad comes before EVERYTHING for me. Sometimes I am amazed that I have achieved all that I have in the last 2 years with the UK Cyber Security Association and my work in cyber security because of the amount of times I have had to put things on hold to help my Dad, or change course to be there for him. Sometimes I worry that it makes me look unreliable if I have to rearrange a meeting or if I’m not able to be at an event that I’d expressed interest in, but my Dad’s health conditions mean that I sometimes have to be called on for him at a moment’s notice.
I am very lucky to have the support of my wonderful husband who does so much for my Dad as well, and as a team i.e. me, my husband and my parents, we manage – just about! It isn’t easy to never have any stability and to never know when the next seizure will happen, or if my Dad will have a fall, or if he has to be in hospital, but we navigate all the curveballs my Dad’s health throws at us – often on an almost daily basis!
I could give up what I do work wise, and one day it may well come to that to look after my Dad, especially if he does indeed have dementia. The point of this post is to get you all to think and think hard about WHY you all do what you do. As business owners we can often work all the hours under the sun, often for no return but for great personal reward. Often this is at the detriment of your family. You miss key family events, you are often not there for your children and you don’t spend as much time as you should with your family – because business and work comes first.
Please don’t miss out on precious family moments or for being there for your family because of business or work. I’ve had so many family bereavements since 2013 that I know from bitter experience how fragile and short life is. Make the most of it, and don’t waste a second of it, but most of all, if you have a good family make the most of them NOW. You must provide for them and their future, of course you do. But don’t make work your life. Don’t regret the time you spent on your business and work that you could have spent with your family. Get the right balance that works for you.
I’ve made quite a few changes in order to spend as much time as I can with my Dad, while still trying to be as productive work wise as I can, and I will continue to do so. Your family is precious, enjoy them and make the most of them. If you don’t have a family, focus on you and what makes you happy. Life is short and time is precious. Don’t waste it. Yes your family won’t be around forever. And that is even MORE reason to be there for them while they ARE here.
If you combine work with looking after your family, especially if you have to look after elderly parents like I do, what things have you done that work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if the changes you have made have helped you.