In the middle of the night, I was contemplating my book and why it is so important to me. I suddenly felt like my old wounds had been ripped open. I felt the anguish and despair, the heartache, the desperate cry of the longing of my soul.
I was reliving a time some years ago that was bursting with overwhelm and a deep sense of loneliness that could not be filled. My husband was working long hours – around 80 per week. Our children were in the middle years of schooling and I had gone back to college to study Naturopathy. I was doing a double diploma which involved many hours of class time, clinical practices plus the never-ending stream of assignments and private study. It was a hard-enough slog for anyone, without the added pressures of family.
With my husband’s workload, he had no time for me, no time for the children. Honestly, at the time, he felt like just another burden on my time and energy, I called him the walking zombie. I felt desperately alone. How could I keep my life together, how could I respond to the needs of my growing children? More than once, in my moments of despair, the thought came to me that maybe I would be better off leaving him. Then at least I might be able to get some help, some support of some kind.
I was an emotional wreck. Looking back, I don’t know how I manage to get through without a break down. I held it together, for the moment, until I finished study, then I broke down. I remember sitting in class and absolutely nothing sinking in, just feeling empty. I’m a fairly good student and would normally get high grades – but I struggled.
It felt like the kids and I were always waiting – waiting for Dad to come home from work, waiting for Dad to have a moment of time to spend with them, with me. We used to play a guessing game of “what time will Dad get home tonight?” One night in particular, it was getting quite late, so it was decided that we should all get into our pyjamas before he got home to make the point that it was really very late. We were going to give him breakfast instead of his dinner.
As a parent, you want your children to feel loved, accepted and safe. You want them to be able to speak up and be heard. These things are difficult when you come home from work feeling exhausted. Your mind is numb and you just want some peace and quiet. But you are coming home to children who want and need you to listen to them and just spend a little time loving them. It can be really trying and stressful.
What does it mean to a child when their parents come home and they don’t have one speck of energy left for them? When the conversation, if there is any, around the dinner table, if they actually sit around one, is all about complaining about your day and how stressed you are. What is the message we are giving to our children?
While I struggled, feeling that desperate longing for just a moment of time, where I could feel loved and cared for, my greatest heartache was for my family. My children were missing out and my husband missed out on so much. He will always regret that he hadn’t been there, that he hadn’t been able to play with them as much he should have, that he hadn’t been able to grow with them and help them develop. He wasn’t able to give them the time to really help them develop their interest that they loved and shared.
In turn, what does this mean to society? Families are breaking down and children grow up without the nurturing and quality time from parents that help them grow and develop into rounded members of society. When all that children see is frustration and anger, what hope for the future will they have?
This is the collateral damage. This is the real cost of people being overworked to the point of becoming disengaged.
When your people are in pain, your business is going to be hurting. It is only by healing your peoples’ pain that your business can heal. Then, everyone can be healthy and you flourish together.
This is just one part of my story, one part of why this is so important to me, stick around and I just may share some more, or you can download the first chapter of book and get a sneak preview.
Andrea Putting is the author of “Awakened Stealth Leadership. A Soulful Approach to growing People and Organisations. ” Her passion is inspiring leaders, who grow teams that change the world. If you would like to receive the first 2 chapters in her groundbreaking book visit www.awakenedstealthleadership.com