|Lots of dads work a “second shift” too|
Many people hold the belief that your career can ruin your family life. Particularly in the career of a management consultant, all the time on the road creates a disconnect and possibly resentment from the rest of the family. The spouse harbors some negative feelings as a result of taking care of the kids, and the kids feel like you’re never around. At least that’s some of the thinking I’ve heard shared by others. The problem isn’t the job, though – it’s YOU.
The first issue is the mindset of thinking you have *a* job. Those of us with families, especially if there are children involved, have multiple jobs. Example: when people ask me for one line about myself, I often respond with “my daughter says I’m a good fixer.” Not only is that another job, but one could argue it’s more important than the one that brings in the paycheck. If I don’t do it, who will?
Just last week, we had one of the tougher weeks than we’ve had in a while with me traveling. I didn’t have to travel during the week of Thanksgiving, and the next week I was gone from Monday 4am until 2AM Saturday morning. Did that exempt me from getting up with the little people at 6AM? Nope, because that’s another one of my jobs, but let me go back to being the “fixer” of the house.
|No idea why everything comes in so many pieces these days|
In case you don’t know, Hanukkah is early this year (starts December 8), which means lots of presents. This year, one such present came with “some” assembly required. On Sunday (December 2 if you’re keeping score), my wife informed me that she wanted me to work on our daughter’s first Hanukkah gift in case we needed to order any replacement parts before giving it to her. Extra credit if you know what it is just from the picture! If not, you’ll see when you scroll down. The photo here doesn’t really do the task justice, but you can see there’s a pile of stuff that needed to be meshed together somehow to create . For the curious who may be wondering if I did this alone, the answer depends on what you mean by alone. My wife was in the room, but she strategically placed herself on the bed to listen to the holiday music that was playing..and nothing more. Had she not done that, who else would’ve been able to wait until I spent an hour doing one step before realizing it was WRONG? All kidding aside, it’s true she wasn’t all that helpful but I appreciated just having the time in the same room together because we don’t get it that often.
Six hours later, on a Sunday night (i.e. the day before travel), this monster of a construction project was finally done – a massive Barbie dollhouse.
|Six hours later!|
There are a couple of points I want to make about this situation and how I think a person who’s job “ruined” his/her family would handle it:
- On Saturday morning – I’m too tired to get up with the kids. You deal with them.
- On Sunday evening – I need some time to unwind and get ready for travel this week
Either of these responses more than likely would’ve have resulted in a less-than-desirable discussion with my wife. Both have a key thing in common – I. Neither takes into account the overall benefit to the family. This approach makes no sense because I doubt you can find a person who isn’t happier when his/her family is happy, regardless of how much sleep it costs or how many times you have to re-do the roof of Barbie’s dreamhouse.
|Now we wait|