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  • It's all about Balance

July 30, 2019

Work/Life/Fishing Balance

When I received a phone call from Just Under Dog, the second to Top Dog and had this topic put to me for my next blog, I thought easy!  Essentially, married with three kids I have been conducting this juggling act for 15 years!  However, I sit here at 4 a.m. scratching my head as to how I am going to best explain it without sounding like Doctor Phil.

However, I am going to have a crack and before I begin, I am going to put it out there. This will be written from a male’s perspective as the last time I checked, this dog handler has the anatomy which is generally associated with a male. So, I am not going to go drag and try and explain it from the other side of the kennel.  So here it goes….

Unfortunately, work is a necessary evil, no two ways about it.  However, a wife and kids aren’t, so my advice is don’t shack up and have kids, work and fish.  Simple blog done… LOL

In all seriousness, the way society is these days we are busier than ever. Woman, unlike 30 years ago, now actively work and pursue careers, so in many households both parents work leaving little time for one, the other or both to pursue individual interests. But it is important you do and both parties are on the same page!

What did I do?

Let’s face it most of us marriedys reminisce over a few frothies with mates reflecting on the good times, when we were single and had the work/life balance sorted (as the kids rips around tearing the place apart because you have taken them to your mates house to earn brownie points). But as we grow and mature, maybe not mature but get older, as a rule it’s inevitable that you meet your No.1, tie the knot and enter into a life sentence, arh courtship

The toughest period of any relationship when trying to find the balance is without a doubt the first 5 years. This is a generalisation, so please don’t begin writing letters to the editor crucifying me. But, in my experience it is.

It’s the period when time together is at the upmost premium, the missus expects you at every waking moment to be with her and she firmly believes "why wouldn’t you want to do that." Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, us blokes don’t need to be in our partners pocket 24/7, we enjoy catching up with the mates and doing what we enjoy, in this case wetting a line.  This is the first speed hump in the long road of relationship speed humps and roadblocks.

Managing your time with work, family and or partner is a juggling act of compromise and selfishness or give and take for a better analogy.  The truth is, there is no one shoe fits all in the quest for an adequate work/life balance.  But true to my word, I will endeavour to give you a few pointers which may prevent you from ending up in the dog house.

The Art of Compromise

Traditionally we work 9-5, Monday to Friday and have the weekends off!  So, it leaves us with 48 hours in which to get our life balance sorted and this is where compromise becomes the first issue that needs tackling.

You do need to spend time with the family or partner to maintain a healthy relationship!  This is essential for a couple of different reasons:

  1. You earn some brilliant brownie points (which I will elaborate on later) if you are seen to be putting the effort into the family and “sacrificing your fishing” 
  2. It prevents resentment!

Resentment is like cancer, once a partner resents the other, it uncontrollably spreads, deepens its roots and grows over the years sometimes never cured. It’s the common thread of one partner is doing more than the other, forced to look after the kids while you go fishing and enjoy yourself. It’s a real thing!

#1 Dog Handler's kids on a family fishing trip

The easiest way to prevent resentment taking hold is to sit down and have yarn with your partner early in the relationship. Explain to them how much fishing means to you and how good it is to your well being; they may even choose to take up fishing to spend time with you in a case of "if you can’t beat them join them."

We all have different sized "fishing buckets," some don’t need to fish twice a week to satisfy their bucket, others do. But your expectations and her expectations need to be laid out on the table and a compromise somewhere in between needs to be made. So, in the future there are no preconceived ideas of how much fishing you like to do to fill your bucket.

On the flip side of this, as relationships grow there are times when family or one-off event’s will in fact impede on your time and this is were the compromise creeps in on your perspective. Participating in these in inevitable, healthy for the family unit and relationships, but also earn you "MASSIVE" brownie points as a result. So, all is not lost.

Reality is, there are times when fishing can’t be done every weekend or sometimes as much as you first compromised on, particularly when kids first enter the equation. But the tides turn, no pun intended. There will be times when you over fish, but as the saying goes "what goes around comes around."

Like a Thief in the Night

During a one of the many heated discussions about me fishing while Bec is at home caring for kids, I had a light bulb moment and suggested to her “would you still be upset if I fished at night?"  Bingo I found a handy way to fish more but keep the missus happy!

There are 24 hours in a day, between 8-12 hours you work, 4-5 hours you spend at home prior to hitting the sack which leaves you with another 8-10 hours to fish of a night time when you partner and kids are reading the back of their eyelids.  Start fishing by night!

I found that fishing at night was not only peaceful due to lack of boat traffic, but I learnt a hell of a lot about the species I pursue, and it made me more successful by day.

However, "BEWARE" there is a catch!  You ‘MUST’ remain coherent the following morning during the kids breakfast routine and in the evening after work, being tired is no excuse and if you don’t any brownies you did have will quickly be ripped from underneath you.

Have One Trip Away a Year

If there is one thing we have done in recent years and a great way to earn brownies is to make sure she books one trip away a year with the girls, as you do the boys.

For years I had trips away and it caused an avalanche of abuse and to be honest it was from no fault of my own (but it never is 😉). Bec was always aware that I was doing it, months in advance but got her knickers in a knot every year.

Where I went wrong was I never "FORCED" her to get away, minus the kids. I always said that I’d love for her to go away and me look after the kids, but she never would book it for herself and I think that was a motherly thing! 

#1 Dog Handler's missus on a girl's trip

Photo above: Happy wife - this is the Missus on a girl's trip to Mt Everest!

So, 2 years ago I booked her a 1 week Yoga Retreat on an island after my trip away and every year since she has begun booking her own trip away.  It gives her something to look forward to & softens the blow of you been away.

Kill the seed of resentment….

Earning Brownies Points

To ‘Earn Brownies’ is to do individual things/deeds that make her happy.  These things/deeds can earn a man, depending on the thing/deed one brownie or several.  Brownie’s are accumulative and can be banked, however are taxed when you participate in something you enjoy without her e.g. fishing, drinking with the lads etc.

It is commonly joked about and the saying is generally tongue in cheek, but it reiterates the "Give and Take" analogy I referred to earlier.  Whether it be looking after the kids while she goes for a coffee, making her a coffee or breakfast, doing the housework they are all small deeds which go noticed and the more you do generally the happier she will be you pursuing your passion.

It has been a common thread throughout this piece, but it’s the reality of married life. She will keep tabs, so earn your brownies, you will thank me later.

Happy Wife Happy Life Fishing

Get the balance right, keep a smile on her dial and life is peachy. If you take away anything from this blog its this! 

  1. Keep her happy,
  2. Keep her happy and
  3. Keep her happy.

Happy wife, happy life - Mrs Westo & love is in the air

No with all seriousness! The number one thing that will create conflict is "Resentment", like cancer it needs to be treated early and the best way to do that is communicate and earn brownie points by doing things that "Keep Her Happy’…Tight Lines,

Westo aka #1 Dog Handler




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