Overworked and Neglecting Your Kids? Me too.

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I’m a classic workaholic and at times you can get to the point where you’re SO focused on work, you can end up neglecting your kids.  That’s exactly what happened to me and my kids.  I realized, I’d spent ALL my free time on business activities instead of having any fun with my boys.  Thankfully, since this period in time, I have made a lot of changes and I no longer invest nearly as much time in my business as I used to, but it’s still an on-going struggle.

Neglected Kid Time

I’m writing this at 3:42 AM, so I apologize if it seems a little “unpolished”, but I’ve just had something the Flylady calls a “God breeze”. She refers to Him as the “Midnight Editor” and He sometimes sends her little messages and topics for her essays in the middle of the night. The topic on my mind is the concept of work-life balance and how to be a good mother to my kids.

However, a lot of us don’t really practice the habit of work-life balance – I know I don’t, which is why I’m sitting up here typing in the middle of the night. As many of you know, I recently lost my mother, which tends to make you step back and take a look at yourself and your life and right now, I don’t really like what I see.

I love my stamping business, but there definitely is a dark side of it and I’ve run smack into it tonight. I’m an enthusiastic “all or nothing” type of person and when I throw myself into a new “something” – I tend to throw myself pretty hard and damn the consequences.

How it Feels When You Realize You’ve Been Neglecting Your Kids

In this case the consequences translate into something I called “Neglected Kid Time” or NKT. I look back on how I spent my day today and it’s nothing but NKT. Here it was a beautiful, sunny Saturday and I had my husband and my two wonderful sons right here, waiting to spend some time with me after a looong week of working at my full-time job and yet I sacrificed pretty much the entire day to my part-time hobby business.  It was a classic case of neglecting your kids in favor of success in your business, and it made me feel AWFUL.

I had a chance to attend a quarterly downline meeting and even though it wasn’t really my downline, I was invited.  I decided to attend, even though I had already spent an entire evening with my my stamping friends a couple of days earlier. Tons of fun, and a nice chance to get out with some great girlfriends and make some fun projects, but again a entire evening of Neglected Kid Time as my kids sat home with my husband and probably watched TV all night.

Then I add in travel time, preparation time, time spent making samples, and waaaay to much time staring at this computer screen at waaay too many stamping websites like this one and I wonder why I have a couple of grouchy, unruly kids with their rooms a mess and their chores and homework not done – duh!

Then I look around at my house that looks like a bomb went off in every room (if Flylady saw this house right now, she’d turn tail and run right back to North Carolina!). I look at my husband who has watched so much football, I think he has green Astroturf imprinted on his eyeballs! Then I look at our two boys who practically have square eye sockets because played so many video games and spent so much time on their computers!

(Yes – we do have HIS, HERS, and KIDS computers as well as separate TV’s for each – that’s a big clue right there!) And I think – boy did I screw up again!

I don’t know about you, but pretty much all my adult life, I’ve felt like that guy you see in the circus with the spinning plates. I have all these plates going and they are labeled WORK (my “real” full-time job), KIDS, MARRIAGE, HOUSEWORK, STAMPIN’ UP!, CHURCH, a whole bunch of others and even a little tiny one called ME. Then I realize that I’ve been spinning the ones called WORK and STAMPIN’ UP! so much this whole year that all the other ones are starting to wobble badly and even start to fall.

So what do I do? I have to admit right now, I don’t really know. Obviously I’m going to have to stop spinning these two plates so much and go over and give the other ones a few extra spins. But how to keep them in balance for the long term? That’s really the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Do I reduce the number of plates, or just figure out some great master plan for spinning them all a little more evenly? I don’t know – maybe that’s not a good question for 4:20 in the morning.

But I do think it’s a good time for us all to ask an important question – what are your kids (if you have any) doing while you are reading this message?

Hopefully by now, mine are spending some Non-Neglected Kid Time with their one and only, ever lovin’ Mom.

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:
Highly Effective Strategies for your Disorganized or ADHD Child
Magic Formula to Get Kids to Clean Their Rooms
Get Your Kids Out of the Entitlement Trap

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  1. I love that quote about the “midnight editor”. I’m telling you, I do my best thinking in the middle of the night.

    My kids were pretty much neglected today. Thanks for the reminder to be more present!

  2. Terrific Post! I mean, would I really want to admit all that stuff to complete strangers probably not, but maybe that is our problem, we can’t admit when we are wrong. I totally agree with your post. I am a stay at home mom, and i still think there is a lot of NKT time in this house. I’m trying to improve upon that myself. Plus figure out how to squeeze a possible part time job in there too. I always said people shouldn’t have kids, if they don’t plan to spend time with them… so I try to do to much like be the PTA, Boy Scout, Girl Scout Leaders, and so on and so forth… and when I look back realizing that was a nice goal, but left my kids behind in the process. Does that make sense? I can honestly say my kids are actually right here with me, coloring and talking to me, as I read your blog. I try to always make time for them, and even I, yes me, need to make more time for them. One of my new years resolutions. Good luck with yours! Thanks again for sharing, and having the guts to say what so many others can’t. 🙂

  3. I think a lot of us are feeling the same, or have been where you are before. When I worked I had 3 main plates I spun…Home {cleaning, etc}, Love {communicating with husband, love life, etc}, Work. I found I could keep up with 2 the third always lacked. So I made it a point to make Love and Work my priority.

    Now I still have 3 plates, but instead of Work I have Daughter {which is still work lol}. Love and Daughter are my priority. Sometimes I just have to put the Home plate down and pick it back up later.

  4. Oh, I can empathize with this one. I always have the plates spinning, although for some reason I see myself as more of the juggler.

    And I *love* Stampin’ Up and have spent far too much money on those items, especially given the lack of time I have to spend on stamping anymore – trying to avoid all that NKT you’re talking about.

    Fortunately right now both the wee ones are sound asleep!

  5. This is a great post — very honest and transparent about yourself and where you are.

    My only daughter is now grown, but when she was in grade school things got crazy at work one day and I missed picking her up at school for a dentist’s appointment. The school called and I raced over to get her, and she was sitting in the principal’s office, on a bench, in her Brownie uniform, with her beanie on and she looked up at me with tears filling her eyes and said, “You forgot me.”

    Even now I can’t think about that day without feeling like slug-slime.

    On the positive side, she’s now starting to deal with the same issues. She has a high-stress, high-profile job — and a two-year-old son. And I’ve noticed she’s a lot less critical of my parenting now that she’s doing it herself!

    Hang in there and be glad that you’re mature enough to realize you’re out of balance BEFORE your kids tell you themselves!

  6. Another great post! I think we can all relate on some kind of level. A lot of times I have to force myself away from the TV or the computer, so I can spend time with the kids.

  7. I think this strikes a chord with every Mom, but as a working Mom your plates are crazier than mine, so I’m glad to hear you’re doing better now than you were then! There’s a book that’s helped me with this, called “Margin” by Richard Swenson, so check it out if you can…it’s worth the time to read it because it will help you find time in your life you never knew was there, and there’s still time for your own hobbies and passions. Merry Christmas to you!

  8. Great post, and yes, I think this is something we all go through… and it was good to hear it!! I needed to hear it!!! Thanks for being honest and sharing with us!!



  9. Good – thought-provoking post!!! I am right there with you and have these moments too! Thankfully, today, I can say that I’m baking cookies for Santa with my 3 year old and enjoying every minute of it. I get to sign off soon and frost cookies – BUT many days I need to stop & reevaluate. Thanks for being so transparent and honest here.
    (PS – LUV the Flylady!!!)

  10. Ah, the perils of working mothers. The guilt can be great but I don’t think you want one more plate to spin. Finding balance is difficult and something always has to give. My house was always a mess! That’s what I gave up to be able to fit everything in. Hugs to you. NKT is something many of us have to deal with. Hopefully you will find your balance!

  11. Playing Mario Cart on the Wii – for the second hour.

    Time to sign off. My plates need a little Mama time. Thanks for the great reminder!!

    Em – congrats on being Saucy!!!

  12. Great post. I love the analogy of the plates, I feel that way all of the time. In fact, I must rush to go make pretend christmas cookies out of play dough with my son- he’s definitely experiencing NKT right now!

  13. Life really *is* all about balance isn’t it? And it’s hard to find. I’ve done many of those middle of the night reality checks. I think that they are good for me. What is about 3:00AM that makes it impossible to hide from or lie to yourself?

  14. Happy SITS day, I just became a mother in July and I realize that every once in a while I fell like I get so consumed with chores/errands and even my alone time that I just don’t appreciate the time I have with him!

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