Skip to content

Just Call Me Dad

Fatherhood in the 21st Century

Archive

Archive for July, 2009

We spend too much time on this earth thinking long term.

I know that sounds crazy. “No,” you say, “the reason things are so screwed up is because everyone thinks too short term.”

But actually, I’m right. Yes, it’s important to have a long term view of our lives and our world. But, that view should really be more like a philosophy than a road map. Once you create a long term view of your world, stop thinking about trying to arrive at a destination. Instead, start focusing on short term ways that you can create joy in your life, while staying within the overall philosophy.

I have seen so many stories about those who give up everything for the future, only to get sick or die before they ever reach their destination. They trade their entire lives for a future that never exists. It’s really sad to watch. I know a woman who used to be a wonderful person: genuine, caring, friendly. She traded it all in for money, and today she is a shadow of her former self. Her pleasant attitude is nothing more than a facade that she applies in the morning with her makeup. Her career has blossomed, but she worked 60 hour weeks all through her kid’s teen years. She probably thinks she’s showing her daughter that women can be strong, independent, and successful. I think she showed her daughter that she cares more about a job and her clients than about her kids.

Work is a necessity in this world, that can not be debated. For most families, two working parents are required. That’s fine. It’s also fine to send your children to daycare, and to put in extra hours when you need to. However, you should be asking yourself – what am I getting out of this? The promise of a promotion to middle management? A C-suite job? An extra $5 an hour? Make sure that whatever you are getting is more important to you than the things you are sacrificing to get it.

On Sunday night Nick and I went to the playground. We played and played until he was completely exhausted, and then we started to walk home. The sun was setting, and we were walking across the grass to the sidewalk. We were holding hands. I figured it out: this was the most important thing in the world.

Nick went to daycare today, because I have work to do. Earning money is an important part of my long term life plan. However, I know that an extra hour at the end of the day today is not going to make any real difference to my clients or my boss. But to Nick, it will mean that Daddy loves him, and that the world is a great place where he is loved and safe. Which one of those is more important?

You know, the one that said I’d be a part of Fatherhood Fridays? Well, it’s 9:47pm local time, so technically it’s still Friday. I’m not absent, just cutting it close.

A big thank you to all of the people who have sent me notes over the past week congratulating me on my decision to be more involved and at home. I know all of you SAHD out there will understand this-but there is a real stigma associated with men who don’t have a full-time job. Surprisingly, it’s not just other people, it’s also me! Your reassurances have been great.

This has been a busy week. Even though my new sales job is part-time, I still had to fly away for some training for a couple of days. Then, I had a couple deadlines to hit, and before I knew it, the week was over.

I flew out of town on Monday night and arrived home on Thursday afternoon. Surprisingly, Nick has been a little shy towards me since I’ve been back. If he has his druthers, it’s Mom that he has been calling for to get him a drink or to change his diaper. This is a little hard on me, but it will pass. In the meantime it’s a great reminder of why I’m on this journey and why the cost of not succeeding is so high. That is very motivational. His behaviour hasn’t all been bad though; we had a great time at the park near our house last night. I’m sure the robins that we chased around would have a different opinion though.

The next week will be great. We’ll be visiting with some family over the weekend, and then I’ll begin making sales calls on Monday. My schedule should be sales Mondays and Wednesdays, writing Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then Fridays will be for writing/catch-up/picking Nick up REALLY early/whatever.

Good luck to all of you Dads out there.

 

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

In my last blog entry I told the story of how I was going to be spending the majority of my time working from home, allowing me to spend much more time with my son and family. I also said that one of my goals was to spend more time publishing here, and that I intended to become a part of Fatherhood Fridays; a sort of web ring sponsored by Dad Blogs. Today, I’m making good on that promise: Here is my very first Fatherhood Friday post!

My last week has been wonderful. I’m really still trying to figure out how this is all going to work, but it definitely has promise. Just to be clear; I’m not a SAHD, Nick is still going to Daycare while I work (I love him completely, but I would never get any work done with him at home). However, he’s been spending much less time at daycare. His mom used to drop him off at 7:30 in the morning, and then pick him up just before 5:00 in the afternoon. This week, I’ve been leaving the house at 8:00, and picking him up at 4. This simple tweak of our schedule has made all the difference in the world. There is no longer a mad rush to get out of the house in the morning, and there is no longer a race against hunger to get supper on the table before Nick gets too hungry in the evening. It just goes to show that often it really is the small things that make the biggest difference in our lives.

I should point out that both Nick and I absolutely love his daycare and his caregivers; spending more time at home with Nick is simply a gratification of my own wants, not an indictment of them in any way.

This extra time with Nick has been amazing; I’m learning a lot more about him and what makes him tick. His language skills are really coming along. He’s 21 months old now, and he has a couple of phrases that he uses all the time. “I did it!” and “I got you!” are two common phrases that I hear, and he’s even started singing along to “Elmo’s Song”.

I’m really excited about our future as a family. I’m sure there will be some challenges going forward, but one week into this new experiment, I really wish I had done it a long time ago.

 Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

 

.

So much has happened in the past month that I’m not even really sure where to begin.

The big picture is that I have quit my job. I know, scary stuff, and in a bad economy to boot. There were several reasons, but the main reason was that I was away from home too much, working too many hours. The paycheck was nice, but no money will buy back the time I lost with my wife and growing son. As Nick grows older, he will realize more and more when I am not around, and I don’t want to have to explain to him why something else is “more important” than he is – since nothing is more important than he is.

Rather than simply pulling an “Office Space” type departure, I spent most of June getting my ducks in a row. I found a great part-time sales job, but the majority of my income will come from writing. I have been offering freelance writing services for over a year and it’s been very rewarding to me personally. In the past few months I’ve had to pass on some large clients because I simply didn’t have the time to devote to them; so coupled with everything else, I decided to pull the plug. If you know someone who might need a writer send them to www.arholota.com.

This news means some positive changes around here; namely more time to write content for you. I also plan on becoming a part of Fatherhood Friday, which I think is a very worthwhile movement. I don’t know exactly where my future is headed, but I know that wherever I go, I’ll be putting my family first.

I’m going to leave you with a neat excerpt from an ancient story called the Epic of Gilgamesh. I think it puts things into perspective:

As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace.

Good advice for all of us. Carpe Diem!

.