Here at WMAG we talk a lot about working mom guilt – after all it’s in our name. Whether it’s guilt over missing milestones and moments, frustration trying to balance it all, or the judgement we feel from others over our decision to work – most of our posts are written with us, the working moms, in mind.
But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the working dads of the world and realizing they must struggle with some of these guilty emotions too. My husband travels for work…a lot. Almost every week he’s packing a bag, stepping on a plane, and leaving us.
I know he’s working long days on the road, and as someone who has traveled extensively for work in the past I know the road isn’t glamorous. But these days when he leaves, in my mind he’s gone on a luxurious vacation. A vacation away from blowouts, bottle cleaning, and bath time. A vacation away from middle of the night wake ups. A vacation away from nap schedules and messy meal-times. A vacation from the responsibilities of keeping our little human alive.
To most of us moms, most days, the idea of a hotel room all to ourselves sounds glorious. Throw in some room service and it’s just breathtaking! I won’t lie – I’m sometimes jealous of his steak dinners and quiet slumbers. Especially since I’m home trying to keep it together on my own (with a dog that demands to be fed, garbage that’s not removing itself – and what do you mean I need to remember what day the recycling goes out?!)
Our daughter is at an age right now where she is changing, learning, and growing almost hourly. Blink and you quite literally could miss something. Clapping, waving, giving high-fives….it’s all new and so amazing. When he’s away we try to connect via Face Time – but it’s just not the same. She recently started crawling – an adventure I quickly caught on video and sent via text to her dad. He was excited for her, but there was a marked sadness in his voice over not being there live for such a milestone.
You see, I miss hours – about 8 to 10 a day. My working hubby misses days. And as tough as it is to keep this ship afloat without him, I get to wake up to that big toothless smile every morning. I get to sniff her hair and hold her tight for a few minutes at bedtime – and that makes it all somehow worth more to me than a steak dinner and a whole night of sleep.
Working dads out there – you have your own guilt to battle. Maybe it’s because your work takes you away from the kids for travel. Maybe it’s guilt because your wife has to work – or guilt that you can’t provide more for the family. I’ll give you the same advice I give myself daily – let it go, let go of the guilt and enjoy your little family. As long as you’re doing the best you can – you’re doing enough. And enjoy the steak dinner and full night of sleep…because once you come home the late night wake up shift is all yours.