This is my tale of the jealousy of a working dad please read on for how working and not having enough time with my children has affected me.
When each of my kids were born I took what paternity leave I could afford or was allowed (15 years ago there wasn't much), with my daughter I have been a much more hands on dad than with my sons (sorry boys I was more mature when she was born is my only excuse), sadly in all three cases I (and their respective mothers) had to return to work in order for us to house, feed and clothe the little nippers.
What this has meant over the years is that I have not been able to be there at every step for my children. I have not always been there for the first day at school or the must catch first steps or even all the important parents evenings.
No work has rudely step into the path of my parenting ideals, thrown spanners into the works more often than I want and generally been a right pain in the proverbial when it comes to being the dad I want to be.
In an ideal world I would be (more in the case of my daughter than sons, due to my own growth over the intervening years) one of those rare, but increasing, sights of our world; a stay at home dad (SAHD).
I read a lot of other bloggers work, mums and dads (although I often get the humour in the men's posts more) and an increasing number of the dads I read are stay at home dads, and do you know what I am jealous! I want that life too, not a life of no work (because I strongly believe bringing up kids is work) but rather a life of being there with your kids, not only for their biggest but also their smallest, milestones.
I want to be there
I want to be there to pick my kids up from school every day, or be there when my kids walk in the door. I want to spend the holidays drawing, painting and creating all manner of weird and wonderful craft projects with them, or wandering through the fields and avenues of our surrounding town as we go on adventures in the great outdoors.
In fact, if I could, I would go further, I would love to be the person that teaches my children, home schooling them so that I know they are the sole focus of a lesson; I can instil my wisdom and the wisdom of the world in them and not just have children who can recite by rote the kings and queens of this blessed land, or answer exam questions with perfect clarity but with no real knowledge in what it means, as modern curriculum's force upon teachers (this is in no way a disparaging comment on teachers).
The Jealousy of a Working Dad
Sadly tomorrow morning I will be up with the lark (or before her sometimes, I've met owls on my wait at the bus stop), leaving the house hours before my daughter wakes, returning after her allotted bedtime. I will not be there to collect her from the school gates or take her to the park, I will miss helping with the endless homework she is being given, or cooking her the healthy meals she needs to grow strong.
This week I will leave the house as she is settling down to sleep, to work hard overnight, while she sleeps soundly in her bed. I will not be there to comfort her if she wakes with night terrors or be there to read to her if she is struggling to sleep; I won't be there to laugh at her odd nightly moans or comical sounds. I won't be there while she eats her breakfast, instead arriving just in time to wave goodbye as she leaves for the bus and another long day at school (from which I will not be there to pick her up).
I am lucky in many ways, as a shift worker I get a good amount of time off during the day, I will freely admit this, but I am greedy and it is not enough in fact that extra time makes me regret the hours I am not there more! I want more time with my beautiful daughter, I want more time with my handsome sons. I don't want to miss watching them grow for a single moment, just because we live in a world where to survive is to struggle day in day out to earn a buck. This is the jealousy of a working dad (or more accurately the jealousy of this working dad).
Are you a stay at home dad? Or are you, like me, jealous of stay at home dads? Either way I'd love to hear from you.
This post originally appeared on When the Dust Settles and can be read here http://www.whenthedustsettles.co.uk/2015/04/16/the-jealousy-of-a-working-dad/