The Great Work/Dad Balance

My wife and I have a unique set up. She works a regular job every day while I stay home with Lucy and also do freelance writing about comics and toys on the internet. I understand that a lot of people stay home with kids, but I wonder how many of them try to work as well. Honestly? It’s really difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying home with Lu and being able to watch her literally grow up from day to day. But, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to be completely honest.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining too much. I understand how lucky I am to actually be doing what I went to school to do and also something that’s very much a dream job (things my wife reminds me of when I worry about not bringing in more money), but, as any stay-at-home parent will understand, raising kids is a full time job. So, adding consistent emails, phone interviews, writing multiple page stories, researching lists and transcribing can be difficult.

I ran into a problem of sorts today while trying to do both. I like to do my interviews via email because it’s easier to just copy and past the words from the email to a document and work from there and it’s just a lot more flexible. The downside is that you don’t get as real or fun of an interview some times. Today, though, I had scheduled an interview via Skype that wound up going very well and will make for a good story. The downside is that I thought it was set for an hour later than it was, which meant I had not properly planned for Lu’s nap schedule. As such, I realized the interview was 15 minutes away and I had to think on my feet. Lu was pretty fussy, so I put her in her crib with a bunch of toys and her juice and then stationed myself at the bottom of our stairwell and did the interview.

Like I said, the interview went well, but the Lucy solution did not. She screamed pretty much the entire time which made me feel terrible. I have no idea if my interviewee could hear them, he didn’t say anything at the very least. But, I felt really crummy about the whole thing. I know you’ve got to make some sacrifices when it comes to work and family, but having that sacrifice clearly cause your kid torment while you’re still in ear shot is just the worst. Is my interview more important than her happiness? Am I a bad dad for doing this to her? It feels like it, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, right?

At the end of the day, like most of life, it’s a hard road to travel and a difficult balance to strike. Most days, I’m all hers aside from some email time and my regular morning writing. She doesn’t seem to mind as she usually plays with her toys or watches TV. It seems like a few times ever few months of being upset isn’t so bad. I wonder if she’s catching on that I’m extra nice after these episodes? Today she spent an hour napping on my lap while I desperately had to pee. Gotta watch out for those kids, they can be tricky.

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