ASK BRANDY: Kurt Angle weighs in on family time

Thursday, August 27, 2009
By Brandy Dolce

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Q: I’m a really busy guy who travels a lot on business. I’m away about two weeks a month, and it’s taking a toll on my wife and kids. They understand, but it’s still difficult. Any ideas how to bolster my family life, despite my frequent business trips? And what do other people do who are in similar situations?

Steve, 34, Monroe Township

A: Hmm, who do I know who travels a lot and has both a family and career to balance? Oh! How about Kurt Angle, the first American Olympic gold medalist to win the 220-pound weight class in freestyle wrestling, and current wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment. Since Angle is in a similar situation, I asked him what he does to stay close with his family despite frequent business trips.
“Being on the road for long periods of time with wrestling (sometimes on other continents), I often miss my family, too,” he said. “The best advice I can give is to make the time that you do spend with your family count.”
He said a few ways he has found to make time spent with his family more productive include consistent communi-cation.
“Always make sure to have at least one good lengthy conversation with each key family member every day that you are gone,” he said. “Ask about their experiences each day. Let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them and that you have a special event planned when you get home (movies, dinner, going to the park or zoo, etc.)
“A key in making this happen successfully is to make sure you get your rest on the road, so when you return you have the stamina to enjoy time with your family. Also, you don’t discuss work or bring work home when spending time with the family. Family time is family time only.”
Angle also suggests learning a hobby together.
“Whether its learning chess or learning a new sport, taking up a hobby with your family members is a great way to discover new things about each other when you get time together,” he said.
I, for instance, took a basket-weaving class with my Grams. Six hours later, with Grams’ arthritis kicking into high gear, I ended up finishing both of our baskets. They look really nice in the corner of my garage, gathering dust and keeping the Christmas decorations company. But, oh, what memories.
Finally, Angle suggests picking up a small gift from wherever you go.
“It doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said. “Bring something home from each trip – just a small gift – a stuffed animal with a note explaining how much you appreciate them and how much you missed them while you were away.”

Ask Brandy accepts questions from the ordinary to the bizarre. E-mail your question, name, age and town to brandy@app.com or fax your information to (732) 643-xxxx.
-The Asbury Park Press

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