Although currently I am a Stay at Home Dad, or Domestic Engineer if you will, six months ago though I was a Working Dad, a working middle class Dad in fact, and God willing I’ll be back in that role before another six months pass. There is a problem though with the role of Dad these days, especially when you are busting your butt to keep your job, when half the world is losing theirs.
Here’s the deal, before kids you would work the hours needed to get the job done without a hint of guilt. But when that little one comes along, it flips you around faster then your first trip to the store when you are out of diapers. All of sudden when you stay late you feel guilty about being away from the kids, or leaving your wife home to deal with diapers, baby food, and snot. So what do you do? I mean you’ve got to get the job done, because if you don’t, and it’s not done right, let’s just say the late hours won’t be an issue anymore.
So it’s a catch 22, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. All we can do as Dad’s is our best. I took a second and checked in with some of my fellow Dad’s who are working, and asked them some of the things they do to make time for the family and try and regain a work life balance:
Nick, Father of two boys and a girl, ages 6, 4, 2:
One thing that is most important and will at first sound like a father who hates is kids, is to remember that your relationship with you kids is a temporary one. One day they will have a family of their own and hopefully like you, be consumed with raising their kids. On the other hand, your relationship with your spouse is supposed to be forever. So implementing a regular Date Night with your spouse is most important. One of the best gifts you can give you children is an example of a healthy marriage and commitment. So many marriages end and families are broken because the husband and wife grow apart as they do what they think is a more noble commitment in raising the children, sacrificing their marriage. You have to get it on the calendar, otherwise it will never happen. Some of the best money you can spend is on babysitters and not on a fancy dinner or a movie. Spend time investing in the love of your youth and keeping your love alive.
Jeff, Father of Two girls, ages 7 and 5:
I Lay in bed with them before they go to sleep and ask them a ton of questions about their day…they love it.
Edgar, Father of One little Gal, age 19 months:
I do have to work some crazy hours sometimes and I also have to travel from time to time. When I am at home, I try to make sure I do the little things like give her a bath, read her a book, brush her teeth, etc. I also try to make sure that I devote some specific dad-daughter time. Although Michelle and I both have busy schedules, she still spends more time with my daughter so I’ll make sure to do an activity just with her. For example, I have been gone a lot the last couple of weeks so this Saturday, I am planning to take her to the zoo on my own. Sometimes it is hard but I guess my approach is to try to make the time we have together as valuable as possible. Having said that, I always think I could/should do more.
Brad, Father of Two, Boy 3, Girl 20 months:
I always make sure that I set a routine so they can expect something from me and they always know that they can count on that. Every night we read the bible and then we (all 3 of us) get on our knees and say our prayers. Another is they know that EVERY weekend we are making waffles together or going to Starbucks just with daddy.
Faisal, Father of Two
The main thing is I try to include them in my hobbies. One being I love to cook, so when I do I enlist them as my helpers, my other hobby being working out, come the weekend I dial it back and do so in a way that includes them, be it bike riding or simply running around with them. Also on the weekends I make every effort to get up early as if I was going to work and take them out for breakfast while letting their Mom enjoy some extra sleep.
So you see, most Dads are doing there best, caught between duty and love for their family. It’s tough out there, but we’ll get through it. Keep up the good work.
Bonus Awesome Rocking Little Dude Pic of the day: