Being a Dad and working long hours do not always fit neatly together. You will have to take time to work out how you can balance both in a positive and productive way. Being the family provider and wanting to be a “good” father and do well at work can create a lot of pressure on Dad.
So it’s worth taking some time to put it all into some perspective.
Coming home from a long and sometimes stressful day at work and then becoming “Dad” can be very demanding. However, to spend some fun time with the children at the end of the day is a great way to leave the worries of work behind while building relationships with the children at the same time.
When our son comes home from work he lays on the floor with his baby daughter, giving her his complete attention, resulting in her little face lighting up when she sees her Daddy!
Let’s look at some work options
Now that you have a family it may be a good idea to look at your job situation. What can you do to create a healthy balance between job and family?
Some dads may look at making BIG CHANGES e.g. changing job so they are closer to home and the hours are more family friendly. Changing from shift work to day work. Becoming stay-at-home Dads.
Set boundaries around your work – decide when work mode goes off and Dad mode comes on and switch off the phone, close your office door – I know this is extremely difficult when you work from home, however try to stick to your decision and be flexible too!
Have a discussion with the boss to see if there is any way to move your work hours – to start at an earlier time so you can finish early. Or you might be able to work from home one day a week or fortnight, therefore giving you the chance to do the school drop off and pick up.
I know a lot of Dads will not be able to put these changes in place, but don’t lose hope! You just have to get creative! Some ideas – make dinner a family special time and remember to turn off the TV! Sit around the table and eat dinner and share your day together. Work out a time that is ‘Dad and kids time.’ Put it on the fridge and make this time every week, these changes can be a struggle to put in place, but very soon they become a much looked forward to habit. When you are with the kids TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!! Face book, twitter and instagram will still be there later. Instead give your kids your whole self and listen to their stories and tell them your stories. Kids love it!!
My Dad was a shift worker, so he would drive me to or pick me up from school (I could have easily walked the distance!) and he would take me to my piano lessons when his shifts allowed him the time. So we would still get our time in amongst ‘life.’
So I am sure you can come up with lots of great ways to have time with your kids. Remember you don’t have to have long amounts of time 15-20 minutes of full-on Dad time is fabulous, and you don’t have to go on expensive outings. A walk to the park, a sit in the garden is all it takes.
Your health may not be as good as it could be, and some not so healthy habits have kicked in. Make some changes in your diet and find time to exercise, take the kids for a bike ride, walk or run. Therefore you have quality time with the kids and a new healthy you with more energy for your family!
I will finish with a quote from Professor Jan Nicholson The Parenting Research Centre’s director –
‘Professor Nicholson urged parents to spend “quality time” with their kids.
“It’s about spending time when you’re responsive to them, taking an interest, you’re listening and playing with them,” she said.
“It doesn’t need to be treats and going to Luna Park or the beach – it’s about the parent’s ability to be in the moment.”