As a parent, my focus after having children changed completely. No longer was it about going out every weekend with my partner and we waved goodbye to the late night parties with friends. The focus, of course, was the children. Where could we take them this weekend? What adventure could we go on? (obviously ensuring there was a decent restaurant we could pop into on the way back!) After that, as the children grew up, the obvious second focus – could we possibly squeeze in at least one date night this month? Usually it was a Tuesday when my mother could sit in (if we settled the children before going out).
Something we were missing however, was the fact that neither of us had time for ourselves. I think it’s really important for each person in a relationship to have time. Taking some time to just be you something we lose sight of when becoming parents.We all need time to rest and to do something away from work or home that isn’t pulling us in 1000 different directions!
People are inherently driven by goals and having a little time away from it all allows us to put perspective on our achievements and ensure that we’re focused on the right things. We need time to reflect and to grow.
The Dad Perspective…
From my point of view, I always felt like I needed to do something for me. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was looking for but as most guys do, I would spend my day at work in my own little bubble (I’ve mastered the art of being on two telephone calls at the same time whist writing an email!) and I usually rush home (often on a conference call whilst in the car), to get some time with the smalls before doing the bed time dance and then spend the rest of the evening trying to avoid calls and emails from clients so I can spend some time with my partner, before going to bed to make it all happen again tomorrow! So, the question was how do I get the work, family and me balance right? There really didn’t seem to be much space for me and it was hard enough to make time for us?
Well, there are a million places I knew I wouldn’t find fulfilment – dinner for one is never an enjoyable experience and I’m not the sporty type. I absolutely didn’t fancy a man cave at the end of the garden either, so how do I do something for me? I wanted to socialise outside of my usual friendship group, I wanted to meet new people, people I wouldn’t usually get to meet that would give me a different perspective on things. Guys who get it when you say you’ve had a less than perfect week at work (yet I absolutely was not in the market for mates from down the pub). A tough criteria I guess.
The Eureka moment!
After much searching I had a eureka moment and finally found what I was looking for. I discovered my local Round Table. Think business networking, cool activities, like minded guys and an opportunity to make a difference to the local community. Needless to say, for me it was perfect and it fitted into my schedule perfectly. The bi-weekly meetings weren’t a huge commitment and I was able to drop in and out of events as work or family dictated. Through the meetings, discussions and events, I learn things I didn’t already know and I also get the chance to do some very cool things. I also meet some absolutely awesome guys that I wouldn’t usually meet, from Web Designers to Estate Agents, not to forget the awesome Vet or the guy who works for luxury Car Manufacturer or the Teacher at the local High School. We all come together every other week to do something, from a local brewery tour, our annual Scalextric grand prix, to a pizza making night!
The feel-good bit
We’ve done absolutely all sorts of fun, engaging and educating activities, and the most satisfying thing is that we raise money through, in our case, running the town’s fireworks event. That money is given back to local causes and local people who actually need support. We make real difference in the local community and for me, that’s the icing on the cake.
Round Table is a mens only association but there is a ladies only organisation called Ladies Circle. We’re all part of the same family and I can promise you that it is something you should absolutely go and check out. Its helped me, my business and my family.
One final thing, Ladies Circle and Round Table meet on different nights, so a night out for mum and a night out for dad needn’t be an issue!
If you’re inspired and want find out more follow the links below: