It wasn’t long before I started seeing responses, rebuttals and posts supporting Slaughter’s article all over Twitter and Facebook. One particular response caught my attention, “Men Never Had It All,” written by Toure (@Toure). He goes on to describe the work-life dilemma from a father and husband’s perspective, which resonated even more with me as the sold breadwinner for my family. Towards the end, I got a chill when reading the beginning of his closing paragraph:
“Men are more likely than women to choose work at a cost to family. Perhaps they suffer less emotionally over that, but there’s still pain there. We just push the feelings down and don’t complain.”
This is the absolute truth – I choose work because I have to…because my family needs me to do it, and I know many others in a similar position.When I hear that my daughter has been crying saying, “I miss my daddy,” it makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Am I so focused on my family not growing up poor like I did that I’m missing more important things? Not sure, and my answer will probably vary depending on the day.
So you might be wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post. As a consultant, this work-life struggle is amplified because I am physically away from my family 4 days a week for most weeks during the year. I’ve come to accept the fact that some days I won’t get to speak with my wife through text, and I may not speak to my kids at all. I’ve accepted that I chose to take on this demanding career to secure a financial future for my children that I never had. And just when I think my 4-year old understands that Daddy is away working, and I’ve convinced myself that I’m doing the right thing for our family as a whole, I come home from Boston, my daughter greets me with a running hug and says, “I’m so glad you came over!”
That is the pain that Toure is talking about in the quote above. I know that my daughter is young and that is her way of trying to express herself, but the pull at the heart I experienced in that moment lingers…Is this having it all? Is this the life I want more myself, my kids growing thinking their dad lives in Boston (or some other city) and doesn’t exist for 4 days every week? More importantly, I need to figure out if this is the life I want for them.