Tag Archives: perspective

Father’s Day: A working dad’s perspective on work life balance

For Father's Day, I wanted to hear a dad's perspective on work life balance. I know firsthand that work life balance is a struggle for working mothers. But what about for working fathers? Are their challenges the same?

A friend calls Mason Williams a "super dad."  So, I asked Williams to share his thoughts on being a father and finding work life balance.  IMG_0161

What exactly does being a super dad mean these days? Williams explains:

Although he is the Chief Investment Officer/Managing Director for Coral Gables Trust Company, the 38-year-old Williams takes his parenting job equally as seriously. He says his children are his life – two sons, a 6-year-old named Jake and a 3-year-old named Luke. Williams, has been married for nine years to his wife, Ana Lucia, who is a stay at home mom. Ana Lucia makes most of the household decisions, but Williams says he's equally involved in the decisions regarding their children, so much so that he recently listed his son getting into a magnet program at the elementary school as a personal accomplishment on a recent awards nomination. 

While Williams' job is set up to be 9 to 5, it extends well beyond those hours. Often, he works 10-hour days. "We're small and entrepreneurial so it comes with the territory," Williams explains. "You have to make an impact all the time for the business to grow. It can wear on you at times, trying to find balance between work and being there for your kids. I struggle but I think it's important to find ways to be with them."

Like most professionals, Williams can't help but check email on the weekends. It's the best time to trade ideas with his colleagues, he says. "With the iphone, email is at your at fingertips and it's hard to put it down."

As the sole provider for his family, Williams says he puts expectations on himself that fathers of prior generations may not have experienced. Professionally, there is pressure on him to "do what I need to do at the office." At the same time, he also feels pressure to help at home. "When I'm not at the office I feel like I have an obligation to help with the children so my wife can take a break."

Williams realizes his generation of fathers are raising children in an era when technology has made parenting easier and more challenging. On one hand, parenting advice is at their fingertips. On the other, work is always in your pocket.  "I think it's far more stressful," he says. "My parents did not have a Blackberry or iPhone. They could shut down. It's harder for us to concentrate on our home lives when we're home, so that's added stress."

Of course, that's not Williams' only stressor. He says like any parent, his challenge is learning to stop, take a breath and spend time with his family. "I have to tell myself that project at work, or that email can wait. Prioritizing is huge challenge and I have had to learn when to put family ahead of work. I know if I help out at home, I have a happy wife and I have learned happy wife equals happy life."

Williams says as a parent, he gets involved with the time management of his children and the activities they take on. "I'm teaching my son why he should do homework first, so he has free time afterward."  Both the Williams boys are involved in sports, something Williams encourages. "We want them to be active. Our oldest is doing swimming and golf. Our youngest is doing soccer and swimming." One day, Williams even envisions an athletic scholarship for college for his sons like the one their mother, an avid golfer, received years ago.

With all the challenges dads take on today, Williams admits their children's accomplishments become that much more of their own personal achievements. Williams proudly tells me his son Jake has just been accepted to the Sunset Elementary magnet program for Spanish. 

Yes, fathers today are pulling the double duty that mothers did for decades — and while it's a tough, they are reaping the rewards in the close relationships they are forming with their children.

Keep up the good work fathers, and enjoy your special day. Happy Father's Day to all the super dads out there!

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

The Fight for $15: A home care worker’s perspective

Today my guest blogger is Brenda Williams, a Florida home care worker. Brenda works a difficult job and balances it with her home life. Along with other home care workers, she is fighting for higher wages. This is a hot button political issue but one that deserves our attention.

HCFF15_GuestPiece_BrendaWilliams_Photo

(Brenda Williams and her client Mr. Dukes at his 102nd birthday party)

 

This election season, I’m thinking about my grandson. I’m looking for a set of leaders that will fight for our families and communities and our ability to care for one another. And for me, and thousands of other home care workers, that means supporting $ 15 an hour and union rights for low-wage workers everywhere.

In my eight years as a home care worker, I’ve worked miracles to keep families together. I provide daily support services to seniors and people with disabilities that allow them to age with dignity and independence in their homes, surrounded by friends, family and their community. But how can I take care of my loved ones when I’m struggling on low pay?

I am paid $ 11.50 an hour, and it’s not a fair wage. I live paycheck to paycheck, with one eye constantly on when my next bill is due. It isn’t right that I’m 62 years old, work constantly and am unable to make ends meet. A raise to $ 15 an hour would mean an opportunity to save for the future, and not just for myself. I moved to Florida 17 years ago to support my grandson, and I dream of being able to put aside savings for him. Home care workers everywhere are wondering how they’ll be able to provide for their families’ futures on low wages.

Sadly, low pay for home care workers has discouraged many from the job. Across the country, the number of seniors in need of home care services has outpaced the number of home care workers available. In Florida, there is one home care worker for every 35 seniors who need care. It’s clear that the system isn’t working for our elderly, it isn’t working for home care workers, and it isn’t working for families. We all deserve better, and we’re demanding that elected leaders stand with our call for change.

I’ve had some of the most remarkable home care clients. The first of them, Mr. Dukes, was a wonderful man and like a grandfather to me. Mr. Dukes had muscular degeneration and impaired vision. Over the years, he’d lost contact with his family and his home was filled with stacks of letters he was unable to read. I began reading the letters and reaching out to relatives and friends who had written them. When Mr. Dukes turned 102, I invited everyone to a birthday party. I told him 13 people would attend and over 50 came, including many long-lost relatives. His alma mater even sent a picture of him from his college years. It was a moving and powerful experience to help my client reconnect with his family and community, and he felt it too. 

Home care workers provide invaluable services to seniors. We help with cooking, bathing, and doctor’s appointments and provide the stability and consistency of care that allows families to stay together and thrive. But too often, low wages mean we can’t cover the basics of food and rent, much less take care of our kids and grandkids the way they deserve. It’s a simple matter of fairness that home care workers should be able to provide for our family members the way we provide for others.

Today, November 10, is one year from the 2016 election. I’m coming together with other home care workers and low-wage workers in the Fight for $ 15 in our largest nationwide mobilization yet. For too long, our families have been on the line. Now our votes are too. We’re letting candidates know that, whether they’re running for local office or President of the United States, they’ll only get our support if they support $ 15/hr and union rights.

Home care workers need leaders in office that know what families need. If you stand with us, we’ll stand with you. 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Unplugging from technology: a daughter’s perspective

On several occasions, I've asked my son a question only to realize he's glued to his smartphone screen and hasn't heard a word I've said. It's hard competing for a teen's attention when his entire social circle can be access by a few touches on a screen. 

One of the struggles with work life balance today as a parent is making time for our kids when our kids want to make time for us. My guest blogger today is Jamie Goodman (no relation to me).  Jamie's parents got divorced when she was 2 and her brother was 7. The kids now live in St. Louis. Over the years, her father, Rick Goodman of Pembroke Pines, he has talked to his children on the phone, and they've visited him in Florida. However, he found when they were with him, they were tweeting and texting and not talking with him as much as he hoped.

So, he invited his daughter on a summer trip abroad to connect more with her. Before leaving on the 24-day trip to Europe, Rick set some ground rules. Jamie had to leave technology behind. No smartphone and no computer.  Jamie journaled during the trip and her resulting book, "Jamie’s Journey: “Travels with My Dad,” recently climbed to #4 in the parenting & relationships category on Amazon.com.

 I hope you enjoy Jamie's perspective as much as I did.

Rick and Jamie

 (Above: Rick Goodman and daughter, Jamie)

 

When my father approached me with the idea to travel the world for twenty-four days without technology, my initial reaction was, “You’re joking, right?” Well, I assure you he was not, and after three months of planning we were to begin our journey.  Throughout our trip we had our fair share of arguments and moments where all we wanted to do was escape one another, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have changed my experience for the world.

Each day my dad and I documented the sites we had seen, the fights we had, the lessons learned, and advice to other parents and kids. For example one piece of advice I give is that, “ Most of the time dads can be annoying, so enjoy the days he isn’t. They don’t happen too often!” These short entries and pieces of advice paved the way for what is now my book entitled “Jamie’s Journey: Travels With My Dad”. 

Our trip, unplugged from technology, allowed me the opportunity to learn more about my dad and gave us the chance to reconnect and create a stronger relationship. From our journey I learned many things, but the most important being that you are never too old or too young to connect or reconnect with someone. It’s never too late.

Though my dad has lived in Florida almost my entire life, he has never missed a day of calling my brother or I. My dad never gave up on his relationship with his children, and this trip allowed me to show him that I had not given up on trying to reconnect with him.

For the next thirty days I am asking all of you to reconnect with one another, to put down your cellphones, computers and escape from technology. The only way we can truly connect with one another is to interact face to face, and that doesn’t happen when technology is involved. 

Click here to see Jamie and her dad on the news talking about experiencing one on one time. 

Rick's take away:  "It's never too late to reconnect with family members. There are so many ways to connect on a daily basis.(if you both leave behind your smartphones) You don't have to spend a lot of money. You can go to local attractions together."

So readers, hearing what Jamie and Rick got out of the experience, I'm wondering…Would you be able to take on Jamie's challenge? Could you go for 24 days without your smart phone?  

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Grief stricken Carlos Aguilar puts work life balance in perspective

They have jobs. They have responsibilities. But hundreds of people from all over Florida have put those things aside to help one father find his teen son.

I, too, like most of the volunteers, am completely moved by the father of Christian Aguilar, the University of Florida student who was last seen more than nine days ago. Today Carlos Aguilar issued a public plea for help finding his son's body.

As this story has been unraveling, the community has come together, moved into action by grief-stricken Carlos who will not give up on finding his son. It's been heart wrenching.

ChristianBy now, there seems little hope of finding Christian, alive. But Carlos pursues on, trudging through wooded fields in Gainesville, rallying volunteers for help, and doing whatever it takes to find Christian, who now is thought to have been beaten to death by a hometown friend, Pedro Bravo. Both teens were from Miami-Dade and recently had a falling out when Christian started dating Bravo's ex-girlfriend.

When the TV cameras roll, Carlos says almost everything he needs to say through the look on his face, the motion of his hand over his heart, and the tone of his voice. I watch and listen and my troubles disappear. The demands of juggling homework, dinner, deadlines pales in comparison to Carlos and his overwhelming need for answers, for closure. It certainly puts work life balance in perspective!

"You look at the picture and can't help thinking that could be your son, your child," Frank Lopez told The Miami Herald. Lopez lost his daughter in an accidental fall almost half a century ago but came to Gainesville to help with the search.

It is true. That's exactly what parents are thinking. That's what I'm thinking.

Today, Carlos Aguilar asked for the FBI to aid in the search –  if not for a wounded Christian, then for his body.

“Do not give up on my son," he pleaded.

With that one sentence, my day has changed. My son needs help with homework. My daughter wants money for honor society dues. They both need something I can give them. I'm sure Carlos Aguilar wishes he give his son what he needs — if only it was as easy.

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act