The Dadly work challenge

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Ours is like I imagine most houses – the start and the end are the noisiest, most stressful parts of the day. But those are usually the only bits I get with my whole family during the week, so I cherish them nonetheless. Currently my work is taking more from me than I would like and cutting into both of those times, especially the end of the day.

Career-wise it is great and all the stuff I do at work is ultimately for my wife, girls and boy. My desk is covered in pictures of all five of them and their smiling faces help me through what, at work, we would describe as “challenges”.

It’s a bizarre exchange we make as dads. So often an increase in our ability to provide for the people we love the most takes us further away from them.

I’m not particularly comfortable with it but feel there is no immediate alternative. We already live pretty frugally (or at least middle-ish class frugal) so to simply reduce my hours would leave us without enough money to pay the bills. To switch roles with my wife doesn’t make economic sense and means the children lose time with Mum instead of time with Dad.

So we make a sacrifice to pay for things the children barely notice (but are essential – food, clothes etc), and they pay for it by missing something they want and need – time with a parent.

The real challenge is to make the very best of the time we do get, which I do by making sure each of them gets some focused time each day, even if only for a few minutes. You can tell they want more, and I know I want more too.

Obviously this isn’t just a working Dad thing, but an issue for any working parent. What do you think? Any thoughts or experiences you can share? I know there are some stay at home Dad’s in the blogosphere, it would be really interesting to hear your view.

Linking up
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Family Friday
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20 thoughts on “The Dadly work challenge

  1. What a really thoughtful post. Grace is lucky. Ross and I both work from home so it can have its pluses and minuses. She does have to play in her room quite a lot and is an only child. On the plus side it is far easier on childcare and we do have a system worked out where we take it in turns. Ross does earn far more than me though so it makes sense that he works more hours! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo šŸ™‚

    • I know what you mean. I try and work from home once a week but it doesn’t always work out that way. Even when I do it can be tricky. The children don’t always understand that although they have finished school, it’s not playtime for you. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. My husband is working 2 jobs. We hardly see them on weekdays and nights and he makes sure that we are doing something weekends to make up for lost times. But he is so tired. I wish I can do something about this but we dont have much choice but to enjoy our Saturdays & Sundays together. #pocolo

  3. This is an interesting post. I am a stay at home mum to two and my husband works. the end of the day can be quite manic with over tired children who just won’t nap, and I hate it when my husband texts to say he will be on a later train. We are lucky in some respects that he is usually home by 5:15 but he also has to work weekends and take time away overnight, It is stressful for us both; he doesn’t get the time he wants with the children and I get frustrated about solo parenting for what feels like forever!

    We try to be disciplined though in terms of doing stuff with the children together as a family unit, but it is hard. Bills need paying which means someone has to work. I’m not sure what the solution is!
    #familyfriday

    • I’m not sure I know either. I think we have to sacrifice in some way. Time with the children without food on the table would get tired pretty quick, so we do what we need to to get the food, a roof (maybe an iPad?). It’s one of the painful realities of being a grown up šŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by.

  4. An interesting post. I remember working long hours when my kids were young and thinking at the time that it was in their interests. The reality was that they saw less of me, and work eventually made me redundant. Given the time to do it again, I’m not sure I’d see things the same. Loving the phrase “middle-class frugally…” lol. Thanks for linking up #FamilyFriday

    • Hi Danny, thanks for commenting. I do wonder if we just wander into this situation because that’s how jobs and peers progress, and at a micro level it makes sense, but aren’t making a choice based on the bigger picture.

      Middle-class frugal is the only way I could think to describe it. We watch our food bill closely and search for bargains, just at farmers markets and Waitrose. Nowhere near the bread line.

  5. Hi Andy, popping over after your comment on my blog. I can totally empathise as we both sound like we are in similar situations. I thoroughly agree about making time for them, as soon as I walk through the door I try and dedicate every energy to play or feeding until bedtime. It’s a curious deal we make, I’ve found it hard at times.

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