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Rob Watson
08-21-2009, 08:26 PM
Susan dalton said "My shihan told us if we have a family and we train more than twice a week, we are being selfish." http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=238450#post238450

This really hit me hard because I do have a family (4 kids, oldest is 8 yrs.) and train more than twice a week. I would train more but I actually believe I've cut back to accommodate familial obligations! More like my wife nagged me into it - that's what wives are for ... OK, OK , that was a joke. Just because shes talking to me does not mean she is nagging.

My typical training schedule is Monday evenings (straight from work to dojo and home before 9pm) and morning classes (6:30-7:30am home before 8:15am) Monday (about 30% of the time) Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (about 75% of the time). If busy schedules permit also Saturday morning weapons class but this is a rarity. Sunday jiyukeiko was also usual (pending the wifes approval) but sensei has closed the dojo for this recently. With school out this summer I do get a bit of jiyukeiko after morning class sometimes as there is limited time pressure (unless my wife has an event). My wife has a business (shameless plug: see signature tag) that has a wild unpredictable schedule so we play it by ear on that one.

I wonder if I could make real progress if I trained only twice a week ... sensei has said to folks to come at least twice a week when they really intend to test so I guess progress at that rate must be possible. Seems like barely enough for maintenance. I know that I feel progress only when I make my schedule on a regular basis. I think that if I felt progress on a lighter schedule I would not have concerns about adapting to such a schedule - I just really feel like I'm going backwards if I don't make at least 4-5 hours a week of regular training.

I used to not train morning classes but once the kids came along I adjusted a bit and stopped other evening classes. Mostly the wife and kids are barely getting out of bed upon my return from morning classes so these classes hardly seem to count in the 'twice a week' metric. I get back soon enough to help get them dressed, fed and take them to and from school. Frankly, even with this schedule I get pressured by the family so maybe I am being selfish ...Not counting mornings that means Mondays and a rare Saturday with a past history of Sunday (and hopefully more in the future) - practically, barely twice a week, no?

I totally buy into the priority ranking as Family first, work second, budo last. Certainly work takes the bulk of my time so any training is time away from family (my two girls do infrequently train but not enough to really count as family time) and thereby conflicts with the priorities. Logically, unless work is budo or family also trains then any time spent at budo is time away from family and therefor cannot fit into the family, work then budo scheme ...

What is a poor boy to do? I simply cringe thinking of the hell my life would become without training - even a week with no training raises my cranky factor significantly. Finding that happy balance between family, work and budo is pretty tough. Maybe there is no such thing - balance is really always teetering on the brink and a constant dynamic shifting of priorities. As long as the intent is pure and attention is placed properly things will sort of resolve themselves accordingly. Sounds kind of like aiki, no?

Ya know, 'selfish' gets a pretty bad rap when you think about it. Honestly, almost everything one does can be fairly easily cast as selfish. Is it even possible to train in budo and not be selfish? Is not the purpose of budo the 'build a better self' to improve ourselves - body, mind and spirit? Not only selfish but directed towards 'new and improved' selfishness! Maybe it is that danged zen stuff - what is selfish when there is noself? The best self is no self - that kind of thinking just gives me headaches! Maybe if I just train harder, more and smarter I'd get it ...

Maybe it is OK to be a bit selfish so long as I feel bad about it? That sounds pretty stupid ... where is that delete key?

I guess I don't really have a question. Just food for thought ... if one happens to be looking for a nibble.

Karo
08-21-2009, 09:05 PM
You know, I was just thinking about a related thing today... Why is it, that - at least in my dojo, and the one before - there are quite a few fathers, but no mothers?

This is not the forum for it, but I feel the incipient feminist rage when I think about this. Or, rather, cynical disillusionment.

You ask whether you're selfish? What do you want to hear? Looks to me like you're seeking reassurance (after all, you're posting this question on an aikido board, not on a forum for busy mothers). You want to hear that it's okay, because all this training makes you a better person, and so has an indirect beneficial effect on your family as well.

And it's true. But, on the other hand, could you spend more time with your children? Do more around the house? Yes, and that would benefit your family as well, in another way.

You have to answer yourself, and honestly, which of these benefits would be greater. There's no right or wrong about it; there's no perfect solution. There are gains and losses to everything.

Don't think I'd want to make you miserable and give up aikido in order to care for your kids. I don't think anyone's unhappiness will bring any good in the long run. But I'd like to know how much your wife has given up in order to raise 4 children.

Karo

dps
08-21-2009, 09:16 PM
Hello Robert,

I am the father of two kids and my advice would be to attend as many of the morning classes as possible and leave the evenings and weekends for your family. The amount of time that a father spends with his kids in the everyday routine of their lives has a huge impact on their development. My wife is a therapist and deals with troubled kids from 17 years old on down and sees what the effect fathers not being engaged in their kid's daily lives have.

The amount of time that a husband spends with his wife in the everyday routine of her life has a huge impact on the development and maintenance of the marriage.

In short family IS more important than Aikido.

David

ninjaqutie
08-21-2009, 11:15 PM
I didn't have much time with my dad when I was growing up (he was a truck driver for a while then worked 12 hour days at his next job). My mom didn't spend too much time with me either due to her job. I can personally say that I would have liked to spend more time with them. I don't think the lack of time really hurt me, but I can't say how it would be for other people.

Maybe try more mornings since your family is probably at school or work. Good luck.

John Bevard
08-22-2009, 01:02 PM
This is a question I already deal with, and I haven't even started yet. Of course, this is due to my nature to over-analyze every decision I make. In the near future, when I begin classes, I will probably limit them to twice a week. Of course, I have the advantage of increasing dojo time during the summers since I am a teacher :D

All in all, we have to do what feels right. Communicate with the family so they know why you attend classes, and never let the classes stand in the way of our duty to our wife and kids.

mathewjgano
08-22-2009, 01:40 PM
What a fitting topic for me as I sit here at the pc, baby in Bjorn, neglecting the training I was planning for today!
My view is that a person can train several times a week and not neglect their family. It's easier for some than for others, but it can be done and I've seen it done a lot by my sempai, most of whome have kids and yet train at least 2 or 3 or more days a week. In my case, when my son is old enough I hope keiko will be a bonding experience...two birds; one stone: the secret to time management I think.

Janet Rosen
08-22-2009, 03:32 PM
I don't think there is a "one rule fits all." If there are classes a person can get to that don't really cut into family time (like getting up earlier to train before work, essentially carving out "your time", or going during lunch) then to me those are sort of like bonus hours :-) We all need and have a right to some private time regardless of family obligations.
Personally, twice a week is as many evening aikido classes as I'm comfortable with being out/missing dinner at home, especially as I'm also a little late once a week due to a Spanish class. If there was a lunchtime or weekend option (as when I trained in the city) I might consider a third class a week but more than that my body won't handle anyhow!

BlueDevilfish
08-23-2009, 11:53 PM
I have only recently started aikido classes and the issue of family time was very much in my mind as I started to consider taking classes. When I found a dojo not too far away that offered primarily morning training sessions this was the answer to my problem.

I really think that if I had told my wife I was going to take up aikido and would be training 2 or 3 evenings a week I would have met MAJOR resistance to the idea. By attending classes at 6:30 am there is very little interference with family life, or other activities I am involved in (eg evening band rehearsals). For me this is an ideal solution.

I do think it is reasonable though to have a bit of time to pursue activities that don't involve the family. But of course this should be extended to your spouse as well. Just make sure that you don't overdo it.

tarik
08-24-2009, 01:24 AM
I certainly agree with the priorities of family, work, budo.

How you measure and balance them is a personal thing only you can determine with your family. It's all about balance and setting priorities. Sometimes extra weight is given to family, work or budo.

For anecdotal information, I spend at least 6 hours a week in training (3 times a week), but then I have the advantage that it's my dojo and my kids can come down and watch and feel involved. There are times when I cancel classes or let the students train without me because I have family or work obligations.

This is WAY down from the 24-30 hours per week I used to spend when I first met my wife.

Regards,

Trish Greene
08-24-2009, 04:11 PM
So much to do and not enough time...

Even when pulling the family into the dojo, it is not really family time... I am struggling with this as well. My son and I practice but my husband doesn't and there are times when I can feel his glare all the way over at the dojo from home...

I tried to cut down to once a week and it just wasn't working for me. I really need to go two days a week, but what do I cut out to find the time. Or do I just accept that this is how my training is going to be for this chapter in my life?

ninjaqutie
08-24-2009, 09:00 PM
I guess I am lucky in that my husband does aikido as well. One of our sempai's brings his kid and he plays in the other room during class. Another guy brings his kid and he sits quietly and plays with his toy trucks on the back visitors mat.

Aiki Teacher
08-24-2009, 09:33 PM
I used to be very not understanding of a friend of mine in Aikido who often only came once, or twice a week and only for the last part of class after he had put his sons to bed. I now respect him a lot more than I did, because I realize he is putting his family first.
To quote a country poet of our time, George Strait, "Life is not the breaths you take, but the ones that take your breath away." Aikido for me is breathing, but my family, is the thing that takes my breath away, and these times with my children will not come around again. What kind of message would I be leaving if at my death the pastor said, "He really excelled at martial arts!' But in the meantime, i missed the enjoyment of my wife and family. I have purposely tried to limit my time on the mat lately, to spend more time with my daughters and son.

And to Mike if you read this, Man, you are a true inspiration of what a father should be!

observer
08-25-2009, 12:45 AM
There are things that the most of aikidokas do not understand. It is about a Martial Art and stereotypes. If you spend time away from your family to practice a Martial Art mostly you are for them a hero who is doing it to get power to stop violence. There is no excuse to fail. If it will happen the consequences are not possible to predict.

Keith Larman
08-25-2009, 01:06 AM
It is always a difficult thing to balance. For me, I am lucky in that my wife understands that I spend all day alone in my workshop working. And that I need some time every few days to do something strictly for myself. It gets me out and away from the stresses of life. It gives me time to turn off the world, it give me time to forget about all the pressures on me, and it gives me time to focus, reflect, and reconfigure myself. But sure, there are many times I've missed events at the dojo. But family always comes first.

No question and it ain't even close.

Darryl Cowens
08-25-2009, 01:10 AM
So how many sessions a week would most people recommend as a good balance?

Most places in my area tend to have 3 or 4 adult sessions a week with maybe one of those being a basics/advanced/weapons class, some just the 2 adult and maybe one or two child classes, The exception to the best of my knowlege is one club with 3 dojos which offers classes morning and evening, with a mix of child, basics, general, advanced and weapons.

And the moment I've just been attending the one basics class each week, but once I get a few more classes under my belt and another commitment I have until the end of September out of the way, I'll look at this stage attending one of the general classes each week as well.

Randy Sexton
08-25-2009, 07:56 AM
It occurred to me the question is not,
How much time can I take from my family for Aikido training?
but rather,
How much time is my family willing to give me for Aikido training?

Food for thought,
Doc

lbb
08-25-2009, 09:38 AM
"Balancing family and work" is such a commonly used phrase that, like many commonly used phrases, it becomes a meaningless babble of syllables, and we seldom think about what it really means. Maybe it's worth doing that. You need to come up with your own working definition for "family", "work" and "budo", and then figure out how they relate.

Most people probably think of the spouse and kids when they think of "family" -- that's the picture we've had drummed into us for years by the "family values" crowd, after all. Elderly parents living in another state? Not really part of that picture. Ditto grown children in college, same-sex partners, childless couples, friends with no legal or blood relationship, and any number of non-nuclear options. The fact remains, however, that these types of connections between people are not to a "real" family as a fake plastic fern is to a real living plant: you can't just stick them up on a shelf, do nothing for them, and expect them to be there in ten years' time. The elderly parents are dong fine now, but down the road they may need your help to continue to live independently. The kid in college is fine and thriving, but if (make that when) she has a crisis, she won't be quite so low-maintenance. In sum, I guess I'd say my definition of "family" is the people who are part of your life, whom you depend on to at least some degree, and who depend on you in turn.

"Work", likewise, has an obvious definition that masks a lot of important truths. Work is your job, but more fundamentally, it's what you do to survive. The subsistence farmer who eats what he grows, has that much in common with the corporate executive with the seven-figure salary -- but there they start to diverge, because while the farmer needs to make hay while the sun shines, quite literally, the executive is making far more than a living. At that point, choices come into play -- choices that many people ignore because they're blinkered to them. Affluence, even the modest affluence of the American middle class, renders most people incapable of understanding how much is "enough"; it blurs the distinction between wants and needs. No one needs a cable television subscription, a DVD player, an SUV (an SUV with a DVD player!), but try to raise the question about whether people could do without them, and you'd think you suggested cutting off their oxygen. There's not a lot of point in trying to reason with people who have that sort of deep emotional connection to material possessions...and yet, there's a great deal of power in having a realistic understanding of wants and needs. Use the word "need" to label your >$100-a-month cable TV subscription, if you prefer...but if you do that, then you "need" to have a job that pays enough to give you that extra $100 in disposable income every month. SUV payment? McMansion mortgage? Eating out more than you cook at home? Again, call them "needs" if you want, but before you know it, you'll "need" to have a job that is a little more demanding than average, where the employer feels entitled to their pound of flesh and doesn't mind taking it out on evenings and weekends. If this is what you signed up for, then yes, "work" does come before "budo" -- again and again.

Then there's the whole question of "family, work then budo" -- a phrase that implies a simple linear ordering of priorities. The problem with this is that any of the three can expand to take up all the time in your life, and the welfare of the three is interconnected. It's pretty obvious that if there's trouble at home, you won't do well at work -- but the coffee achievers of the world don't like to acknowledge that family suffers when too much attention is paid to work. I used to work as a technical trainer, with a lot of time on the road. One day, while talking with a group of co-workers over beers, I realized that each one of us had had at least one serious relationship crisis while we were on the road (picture that, the "If you are not home tomorrow I am getting a divorce" discussion while you're 6000 miles from home). Does that mean family should always trump work? Hell no. I remember one drama-laden phone conversation where I looked over at my clock, saw that it was two in the morning, and said, "You know what? We're going in circles, and this discussion is over. We can talk some more tomorrow." "What? But wait, we haven't resolved..." "I know we haven't. But I have to go to work tomorrow. I have to function tomorrow. This drama we're having can't be allowed to make it impossible for me to hold down a job, period." Sometimes family does not come first, because without work, the family can't be sustained.

I really don't think "balance" is the right metaphor, and I really don't think that a strict order of priorities works either. It's a lot easier than constantly checking to see what in your life needs effort and attention right now. It just doesn't really work that well.

JO
08-25-2009, 11:29 AM
I'll have to echo most of the others by saying there are no set rules, and what works for one familty won't work for another.

I have three kids and a full time job. Aikido comes after both in that my family is at the heart of my life and my job is how I earn the living that sustains both me and my family. I have avoided some problems by getting my wife to train with me. Because of this we sometimes take turns training and watching the kids. We also use babysitters. Over all I train 2 to 3 times a week (three times being all the classes given at my dojo). One thing I like about my dojo is that the classes are 2 hour long, so that if I'm gone for an evening I get more out of it (0,5 hour commute, 1 way to the dojo, means that if I go for just one hour , I'm still away for two, and there goes the evening). Luckily the schedule lets me always be home for supper (I eat before training).

Is all this too much? Do I spend enough time with my kids? There are no set answers to such questions. But I will say that I am a much happier and more pleasant father and husband when I have some time for my own personal things. And as a hint to other husbands out there. My wife is a lot less likely to mind my leaving for aikido if I make sure to take over the child watching and chores often enough for her to do her own things (in this case this includes aikido, but gardening comes in first for her).

As for the kids. They'll soon be old enough to want to be commuted around to their own activities (I may have to start a kids aikido class, I give occasional little private lessons to my two oldest in our basement). Every time I think I have found a balance, the situation changes and I have to create a whole new routine. It's the story of my life, and I suspect that of most parents.

jonreading
08-25-2009, 11:35 AM
To me this argument boils down to responsibility and freedom. These two concepts are often at odds as in this case. We want freedom to train aikido but we have responsibility to our family; or, we have a number of responsibilities (work, dog, yardwork, etc.). So we prioritize our day to accomplish our responsibilities and give us time to induldge our freedoms.
We develop a relationship structure of committment to each other, our unit, and ourselves. Those committments grow as the family grows. If aikido is a the top of your freedoms list, you should work with you spouse [and children] to develop a schedule for your freedoms. It sounds like the original poster is accomplishing this schedule.

On the other hand, sometimes the freedoms list can vary depending on the day. "I like aikido, but my wife won't let me regularly practice more than twice a week..." Then you find out the student also likes to play nine holes after work and occassionally catch a drink with the frat buds on game day... This is where I see committment waiver from students. Class is important until something more important comes up.

Make time for your family, make time for work, make time for aikido. All three deserve your committment and dedication.

Danulka
08-25-2009, 03:03 PM
IMHO, aikido brings peace and relaxation into your life. It makes you happy and then you bring positive energy to your family. It's better for them than to have an angry and stressed person at home. It's for their own good so it can't be selfish.

:ai:

Danulka
08-25-2009, 03:26 PM
IMHO, aikido brings peace and relaxation into your life. It makes you happy and then you bring positive energy to your family. It's better for them than to have an angry and stressed person at home. It's for their own good so it can't be selfish.

Or at least my father says so when he meditates every morning :)

Marc Abrams
08-25-2009, 03:34 PM
To me this argument boils down to responsibility and freedom. These two concepts are often at odds as in this case. We want freedom to train aikido but we have responsibility to our family; or, we have a number of responsibilities (work, dog, yardwork, etc.). So we prioritize our day to accomplish our responsibilities and give us time to induldge our freedoms.
We develop a relationship structure of committment to each other, our unit, and ourselves. Those committments grow as the family grows. If aikido is a the top of your freedoms list, you should work with you spouse [and children] to develop a schedule for your freedoms. It sounds like the original poster is accomplishing this schedule.

On the other hand, sometimes the freedoms list can vary depending on the day. "I like aikido, but my wife won't let me regularly practice more than twice a week..." Then you find out the student also likes to play nine holes after work and occassionally catch a drink with the frat buds on game day... This is where I see committment waiver from students. Class is important until something more important comes up.

Make time for your family, make time for work, make time for aikido. All three deserve your committment and dedication.

Jon:

I think that freedom does not exist without responsibility. I call that a form of escapism. Freedom entitles that possibility of choices. Choices entail a degree of responsibility.

I see my Aikido practice as beyond simply waza and into the larger domain of making our world a better place to live in through the choices we make. I actually wrote a blog awhile back about the nature of this relationship

http://aasbk.com/blog/?page_id=53

Those are simply my thoughts.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Lyle Bogin
08-29-2009, 07:58 PM
I think that martial arts does provide a certain freedom, but that eventually it becomes a place to hide. Real freedom includes freedom from the need to train.

tarik
08-31-2009, 12:50 AM
I think that martial arts does provide a certain freedom, but that eventually it becomes a place to hide. Real freedom includes freedom from the need to train.

I think that family does provide a certain freedom, but that eventually it becomes a place to hide. Real freedom includes freedom from the need for family.

Jorge Garcia
08-31-2009, 02:43 AM
From August of 1995 until January of 2009. I have practiced from 12 to 21 days a month depending on the month. The average has been about 16 days a month. I took both my children with me until my daughter went to college. Then I took just my son but the three of us formed a special bond and have a million memories and stories that we share in common. My wife was glad that I had that time with them. She and I always spent all our other spare time together. One day though after 10 years of training, I once asked her, "Why is it that in all these years, with all the regular practice days, special events and seminars,that you have never complained or ever denied me from going to Aikido?" She answered, " I have always wanted you to be happy and I always noticed that going to Aikido made you happy. I just always wanted you to be happy."

Now, I train 7 days a week but she comes with me to the dojo almost every day even though she doesn't train. She works in the office and we drive to and from the dojo. We go out to eat afterwards and we spend all our spare time together. Maybe it doesn't have to be either/or. In our dojo, the office has a large open window (with no glass) facing the mats so she can see us and hear everything while she is on the computer. I go over during the class and talk to her and ask her what she thinks about it or I tell her that I love her and she smiles real big at me. We have been married for 30 years and part of that has been our willingness to adapt and adjust and always try to accommodate each other. By the way, it also helps if one of the two partners is an incredible human being. In this case it is my wife, Pat. Even though she doesn't train on the mat, she's actually the greatest Aikidoist I know.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Mark Peckett
08-31-2009, 05:46 AM
A number of years ago I read an interview with the great karate sensei Taiji Kase. He said, "Family first, work second, karate third." At that time I was in that eat, sleep, breathe aikido stage and practising four times a week including weekends and I realised that my family relationships were suffering. His statement came as a revelation to me, I made adjustments in my life and hopefully became a better husband and father. I know I became a better aikidoka.

ruthmc
09-09-2009, 08:46 AM
I reckon it's all about flexibility.

As a previous poster said, sometimes one area of life will require more of our time than another. When this happens, you need the flexibility of mind and attitude to re-arrange your priorities.

Life is constantly changing and you'll never find a 'balance', just a way of prioritizing everything so that it fits into that particular day of your life.

As humans we are actually well adapted to this - it's the reason we survive as a species today :D All we need to remember is that there is no point in being frustrated about what we can't do, but to put 100% into what we must do at that moment in time, be that family, work, Aikido, or whatever.

If your family complain you spend too little time with them, then you need to re-prioritize. If they are happier, you will be happier.

If your family cheerfully wave you off to the dojo three times a week, you haven't got a problem :)

YogaRen
09-12-2009, 06:03 PM
I am very new to Aikido, but not at all new to the idea of being away from home to practice an art that is important to me.

I am a yoga teacher and in addition to the time I spend in my studio teaching, I also practice. I practice usually four or five days a week. This means I spend a lot of time at the studio. I recently added an Aikibudo practice to the mix and have been finding interesting adjustments happening.

I have always sort of held the belief that I have the world's most supportive husband and the world's most adaptive kids. I do not have a regular schedule to my life in any sense of the word. My husband is a full time student and also works from home. We have a very weird schedule and we are happy with it.

In my opinion there are several factors at work here. There is family, what works for everyone, being responsive to your partner, taking care of home and children and generally showing up for dinner once in a while. But there is also the issue of following a path and pursuing, studying, and ultimately training for something that is both fulfilling and important to you. There is also work, friends, social engagements, spiritual practice, etc, hobbies.. and oh yeah, we all have to sleep, right?

I am young, I had my kids young, I found a job I'm passionate about as a young woman. I'm fortunate in that way, I guess. But I also learned early on that it is neither selfish or wrong to seek fulfillment and meaning in life even if it means being separate from your family from time to time.

Practice can be something that restores you and makes you who you are. My husband often says, "go, train, practice, I need you to be healthy." He recognizes the value of the time I spend with my teacher. He recognizes that when I am practicing yoga, training in Aikido, and pursuing the things that I love, I am a whole person. He likes this person, so he supports me. We juggle a very busy schedule and there are times when we both come to the middle and say, enough. It's time for a break.

Priorities are important and part of life. They are part of a maturation process for all of us. Learn when to say no, learn when to pass on a class, learn when to skip the dojo. Be there when you can, and don't grow to fear that you will somehow slip as a student if you decide to miss a class to engage in family time. Each are equally part of you. Family, is of course, first. But I disagree that one has to suffer for the other to flourish. I also disagree with the notion that there is a set "amount" of training required to be a good student. Some need four hours a week, some need ten. I believe, so far in my very brief time training in this art, that as long as the practice is genuine and the principles are followed, the training is valid. Some weeks it is less, some weeks it is more. You have to let go of the fear of losing ground. Getting rusty might just be part of your training.

I am interested (and also deeply invested in) the idea of women, specifically mothers in the dojo. Perhaps we could start another thread for this. There are so many ideas for me there.

Thanks for listening.

Best,
K

Eva Antonia
09-13-2009, 04:29 AM
Dear all,

I have 4 kids between 7 and 11 years and go to the dojo as much as I can (but since Wednesday immobilised due to knee surgery...no aikido for 6 months, ayayay!!!:grr: ), and being an independent consultant, there is also much, much work (too much this summer, adequate for the rest of the time). Three of the children go with me; the fourth decided that he didn't like it. My big son also can attend adult classes; as to the small ones, their classes are parallel to the adult classes twice a week. Once a month or whenever possible here in Brussels I attend a seminar. My boyfriend thinks aikido is rubbish and refuses to take a try. That's the situation.

But I don't think that it is selfish to train four times a week, and I neither think it interferes with family life. There are enough other things we can cut in order to spend more time with the children. Since the biggest one was born, we never went out one evening without them; we never had a babysitter; we try consequently to spend all our spare time with them. I love reading, but I read when they are in bed; when they are awake I read with them. I love painting, but I paint much less for myself and much more with them since they are there. We both love cooking, and we can do it together.

However, in my opinion family life does not mean that parents have to sacrifice their own interests to spend more time with the kids, and neither that we should expect the same from them. Once you have the impression that you are forced to give something up I think it goes the wrong way. You should WANT to spend as much time as possible with your family, but not feel yourself compelled to do so.

So I try to arrange my business travels so that I can take the family with me; I try to arrange my working hours so that I'm home when they are home, but I also make always a dojo search before travelling somewhere, and it has happened to me rejecting a short term job because there was no dojo available (my boyfriend makes similar selections according to if he can watch his favourite soccer team).

In my dojo, I'm the only mother who is intensively training (both in Istanbul and in Brussels), but here in Brussels I'm also the only one whose kids are doing regularly aikido. The big one starts now his fourth year, his sisters the second year. There are lots of fathers who started with their children, but then the children abandoned and the fathers continued. And we have a grandfather who started training with his granddaughter.

Our former aikido teacher brought his entire family to training. His wife was 2nd Dan, and both his son and daughter became aikido professors, too. And his smallest grandchildren have the age of my kids, and they also started training... Why not?

Best regards,

Eva

Rolf Granlund
09-13-2009, 04:58 AM
To All,

I guess I struggle with this as well. But I'm finally reaching the point where I realize that it's okay to miss class when I have family issues to attend to. My wife is awesome when it comes to me training. She believes (as do I) that Aikido is part of what makes me a better person, more relaxed and able to handle what life throws at me.

Training with the support of the family is essential. But also realizing that its okay not to be the paragon of Aikido. It took me a long time to realize that a lot of my anxiety at the dojo was due to my not being able to train as much as I wanted and was very jealous of those who could. I thought I was less of a student and couldn't measure up. The trouble I get into when I compare myself to others.

I suppose this was just a long-winded way of saying I agree with most of what has been posted so far.

dalen7
09-13-2009, 08:28 AM
Its all relative... to your own experience. Tell us, is it selfish? Only you know what you need now... ;)

Peace

dAlen

lbb
09-13-2009, 05:35 PM
I think I want to suggest a change in the priorities as stated in the subject line, to "Self, then family, then work, then budo." Sometimes self needs to be served by something that's none of the three.

YogaRen
09-13-2009, 07:20 PM
I think I want to suggest a change in the priorities as stated in the subject line, to "Self, then family, then work, then budo." Sometimes self needs to be served by something that's none of the three.

well said.

Chuck Clark
09-13-2009, 09:05 PM
One of the small signs in a couple of dojo that I frequent says "Self, Family, Work, Budo"... Lots of important stuff in all of these categories.

Best regards,

TEARO
09-16-2009, 12:42 AM
..Try finding a dojo that offers something for kids as well so you take Aikido with them,or where I train it's a big dojo so while we train Aikido in the tatami place there are little kids doing Karate downstairs.

JO
09-17-2009, 07:07 AM
It was my 9th wedding anniversary yesterday. So I only did one hour of aikido as opposed to my usual two. It's these tough compromises that make it work ;)

Dan Richards
09-18-2009, 01:33 PM
I remember I had an aikidoka friend who had the main wall in his living room with all his various aikido and martial arts certificates, pictures, and "stuff" hanging on it that he proudly displayed. He invited Nishio Sensei for a visit to his home at some point. When Nishio got inside and saw what he had hanging on the wall - rather than being impressed with my friend's dedication to aikido, Nishio told him to take it all down and put up pictures of his family.

FWIW, in our dojo the training on Sundays is "family" day. Anyone can attend - from the grandmas to the newborns and everyone in between.

JO
09-18-2009, 09:06 PM
Well, tonight it was my time to hold the baby while my wife trained. Actually, he first slept by the edge of the mat for about an hour while we both trained. The two older siblings spent the evening with the babysitter, but I'll give them a private aikido class tomorrow. Forget compromises, just get everybody involved :)

Nick
09-22-2009, 07:31 PM
To the OP:

Every family is different. A lot of my instructors stopped training entirely once they had kids. One in particular built a dojo in his basement and trains 4-5x a week without missing a beat.

There are certainly worse things you could be doing. As long as you're taking good care of your kids and not overburdening your partner with their care, I don't see a problem.

Nick

tarik
09-29-2009, 02:18 AM
When I get home from work, my 19 month old boy and 37 month old girl come running screaming my name. After hugs and general greetings, 4 of 5 days, one or both of them looks at me very seriously and says "dojo!".

So we often then head down to the dojo to train together, in our way, while Mom cooks some dinner or just enjoys a break from the kids. Some nights (2 a week), she comes down to get the kids when we start formal class. Other nights she comes down to play with us.

Regards,