Like a lot of dads out there, being a working dad means finding balance. Balance between work and family. Something over the years I have struggled with.
My wife is a stay at home mom, therefore I work. That also means long hours, picking up overtime whenever I can, spending more time away from home.
Having my wife stay home was a mutual decision. With how much daycare and after school care costs it really isn’t worth having both of us work. Especially with three kids!
Honestly I wouldn’t have it another way, unless I was able to be home as well. Having one parent home for our kids was very important to us. It allowed them to be home, create unbreakable bonds and know someone was always there.
When I met my wife and became a dad I was working in Alberta’s oilfield. Started out as a ruffneck on the service rigs and moving into tubing inspections.
Being in the oilfield ment long days and tons of out-of-town work. Back then as a ruffneck it was minimum 14 hour days, 7 days a week. There was no regulations on time management at all.
So I switch to tubing inspections. A bit more home time but now on call with a lot of out-of-town work. Any point of the day the phone could ring and away I went. Sometimes home that night, other times 2+ weeks away. I never knew.
We also moved around the province. No notice, just “in 2 weeks you are now living here” phone calls. Not bad if you are single, but try doing that with kids. Hey guess what, I know you have friends but say good-bye as we are moving to the other side of the province.
After my son was born, I had enough. Almost missing his birth was the last straw. Not only that but my oldest was having nightmares from the work I was doing and the fact I was never around. My wife was dealing with the house and parenting on her own. Not to mention all the missed birthdays and holidays.
So we packed up and moved one last time into Edmonton. Taking a job in construction for the power company.
Switching careers so late in life was scary. Not only due to uncertainty if I would succeed but also due to the huge wage gap. Short term pain for long-term gain!
The benefit though was being home every night, stability for my kids and the ability to choose if I work overtime or not.
Even still, finding balance being a working dad is hard. Trying to work enough to give my family extras but still be there for much-needed dad time. I luck out with this as my kids let me know when I’ve been away too much.
I hurts still to this day hearing my kids say they miss me. Asking when I’m finally going to be home on the weekend to play. I try not to dwell on it but I have hard days.
For my kids!
Please don’t stop telling me when I work too much. I was told just that even as I write this. In the last week dad has worked 14 hours overtime, but I also turned down the same amount. Giving me weekend time just to be with you.
I know I have missed a lot over the years. Many firsts, especially when you guys were younger. I still saw them as mom was always good at showing me pictures and video once home.
I remember when being out-of-town, sitting in a hotel room bawling to myself hearing how you grew through phone calls. Knowing what I was missing while feeling handcuffed with work.
I will always bust my ass off to provide for you. I will also be there no matter what. If you need me home, I’ll be there. Wether to play, to talk, help with school or anything in between.
I love you guys very much! Never forget that. I may work lots from time to time, but you are always on my mind. I look forward to evenings and my days off more than I think you will ever realize.
Being a working dad is hard, but it makes our time spent together that much more special.