During the day I work in purchasing for a wholesale distribution company. I love it! My boss is great. I don’t have to travel often. I feel appreciated for the work I do. And one of my favorites…I am able to leave my work at work. Meaning, evenings and weekends are mine, and I’m not constantly distracted by work. Because of this, I feel that I get a lot of great quality time with my family.
I realize that many men don’t have this luxury though. Some guys have to work evenings and weekends, and some have to travel often for their jobs. So, the time they have at home with their family is very limited. What makes it even more difficult is that everyone needs variety in their lives. Men like to have time out with the guys. They like to have sports they’re involved in. They like to watch football. So here is the danger…if you’re out of town a few days during the week, and if you have a softball game on Friday night, and you’re watching football most of Saturday and Sunday, and you’re using a lot of your free time to play video games…where is the quality time you’re spending with your wife and kids?
Your wife needs you. She needs quality time with you for your relationship to grow. She also needs you to contribute around the house. If she is going to be responsible for all household responsibilities including taking care of the kids, and you’re not going to be around to pitch in at all, she’s probably going to be resentful pretty quickly.
Your kids need you too. If you’re getting home from work around 5:30, you only have a couple hours a day that you’ll get to see them and invest in their lives. If you’re using this time to play on your computer or do things around the house, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity and responsibility. And before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone and you will have missed your chance to invest in their lives.
So here is my advice…
If you’re not home much, make sure that when you’re home…YOU ARE HOME. What I mean is…don’t check out, don’t always retreat into the man cave, don’t tell your kids you’re too tired to play, and don’t make your wife continue to take care of everything. Be there physically AND mentally.
If you travel a lot, make it a priority to talk on the phone with your wife and kids. Video call if you can. Make sure they know they are a priority to you. It can be tough when the schedule for your business trip doesn’t match the schedule of home life. The effort is worth it though.
And if you are the guy who is involved in everything, maybe you need to cut back some. Maybe you need to put away the flag football cleats. Maybe you need to only need to have one fantasy sports team instead of 3. Evaluate what is taking up all of your time, and see if something needs to be cut, so you can spend time on what matters.