I work too much. There ok I’ve said it out loud. In many ways it is not a problem, I love my work, I get great satisfaction from doing it and I get paid at the same time. Sometimes. I even welcome the break from wife/mother. I relish the moments when I feel competent and capable, something which as a parent/wife I often feel the the complete opposite.
The problem with that is that it is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. You see the more I work, the more competent and capable I feel at work, but the more incompetent I feel at home! If I work long hours, I feel guilt because I’ve hardly seen the children, or my house is a mess. If I work less, I start to feel concerned that I am losing my professionalism and capability at work. I also strongly care about my clients and genuinely want to do my best for them.
And the stinger here is that I want to work hard, so that I can provide my children with all of the opportunities that I think will provide them with a good stable home environment and the best possible start in life. However I’m also aware that having their Mum there is also an important piece of the growing up puzzle.
The other thing with working a number of jobs and long hours is that it leaves me with very little time to relax, and so socialising with friends has become something which I treasure. I look forward to it, however at the same time I feel guilt as its time I could be a) spending with the kids, b) spending time with my husband or c) working. I am a nightmare to book a social event with as due to work and other commitments it may be we suggest meeting up today, and by the time I can actually fit in a couple of hours of uninterrupted time, it is 3 months away! Not great when you want your friends to know that you care about them. That they matter too.
And my poor husband. To be honest I’m amazed he puts up with me. I’m lucky, I suppose that he can see why I work and the benefits of it and is pretty relaxed about it most of the time. To be fair, he’d probably have to diarise an argument even if he did mind!
It’s interesting to me though that I feel this unending guilt about working and my children, when it’s actually pretty normal for Dad’s to work long hours and no one really comments too much on it. Im forever being told that I work too much, what about your kids? I don’t think I can remember a time I’ve heard it said to a male.
If kids need their Mum, isn’t a Dad as important too? Are my kids missing out, on having a Mum at home with them after school etc? Possibly. Are they benefitting from having their Dad there as a constant, stable and reliable role model in their lives? Definitely. Although, their nutritional intake would likely be much better if I was the one feeding them at weekends!
Life is a balance and, I’ve definitely not managed to balance those scales yet. However, I’m certain that sometime soon, I’ll work it out. The concentric circles of guilt have me spinning at the moment, I’m aware that it wouldn’t take a lot to topple me.