It seems as though employers ask more of people every day, making it harder to balance family and career. There are no easy answers to this problem, but focusing on correct principles can help us to make decisions about the employment and home conflict.
We know that careers are only for this life. They help us survive mortality. However, families are meant to last forever, according to Mormons. Mormon is the nickname sometimes used when speaking of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They do not believe God intended to force spouses to divorce or parents to give up their children when they reach Heaven. After all, Heaven is supposed to be a perfect place where we are completely happy and who can be happy without the people they love most? Mormons devote their lives to preparing to marry in the temple for this reason. Temple marriages are not performed to last until death, but are eternal covenants.
When you think of your family in this way, careers seem far less important. It is, of course, important to have a good job, but it is not important to have the most important or demanding job in the company. It suddenly seems less important to take on non-required extra hours or to choose careers that require all your time and attention. Many people find they are happier with less money and more family time.
First, evaluate how much time you are giving your job and whether or not all those hours are really required. Are others around you giving as much as you are? What are the risks of slowing down? What are the benefits of slowing down? Is it possible to find a job that allows you to have more time with your spouse and children?
The Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus Christ came after His death and resurrection to the ancient people of the New World. He delivered several sermons, including some similar to those He gave the Israelites. In 3 Nephi 13, Jesus taught the Nephite people:
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Clearly, our families would be treasures in Heaven, while the material things we buy through our employment are treasures upon earth—treasures we can’t take with us when we die. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, whatever you put first when two things collide tells you where your real treasures are.
Look for ways to balance your work and family life by putting first things first. Meet the needs of your family and then worry about your company whenever possible. There may be situations, particularly when a family earns very little, when this is not easily possible, but God knows our limitations and we can ask for help. Remember that you are always able to pray and to ask God to help you provide for your family in a way that doesn’t neglect them in the process. They will always value your time more than the things you can buy them.