Archive for February, 2009

Work-home balance skews

It’s been a rough week at work, as our company tries to slim down for a new, and hopefully more profitable, future.

Many of my co-workers have lost their jobs. Fortunately, I’m not among them (though saying that raises the spectre of survivor’s guilt, which I’m unquestionably still feeling).

I say all this only as a precursor to my point: I’ve been preoccupied with work matters of late, and as a result, my ability to focus on other issues of life has flagged.

It happens to the best of us. But it’s a time to be constantly reminded: My kids, and yours, don’t care what’s happening at our workplace. They REALLY don’t. I know, because when I’ve had the chance to see them, they’ve told me as much.

They want to know what’s for dinner. They want to know if they can watch SpongeBob SquarePants, or play their Nintendo DS, or ride their scooter in the garage, or affix tiny plastic jewels to the toilet paper dispenser.

And they want to know when you’ll be coming home tonight.

Earlier this month, Angie Holmes, a co-worker of mine, wrote a great post on tag-team parenting in her blog, Frumpfighter. She points out that in many cases, only one parent is home to care for their son Sage, because her schedule and that of her husband don’t always mesh. She usually works days, he often works nights. Her question: Does that arrangement really serve Sage well?

It’s a rhetorical question, of course. The answer is clearly no. But when work calls, we often have to answer. In my case, my wife often steps in (and I for her, on occasion), but it’s all too rare that we’re actually parenting in the same place at the same time.

And all the kids know is that Dad isn’t home yet. They’re not sure why, other than he’s still at work. And they miss me. At least I hope they do. There’ll come a day, I’m sure, when they won’t.

Do I have a solution? Certainly not. I’m not the first person, nor will I be the last, to raise the issue. But I’m becoming increasingly aware of it, and pushing for a solution.

I need my kids to remember me as I am at home, not as they imagine I am at work.

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Books, books

Picked our 4-year-old son up from preschool today, as is my weekday routine, and he sighed wearily as he climbed into the car.

“I’m really beat today, Dad,” he said. “A lot of learning going on.”

Oh, for the days when education was the most demanding part of one’s day. I’d take that now, in a heartbeat.

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