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.