My husband, Mark, and I have worked out a pretty good system. We both work and alternate picking up the kids from their day home. If one of us picks up the kids, the other will head home and start dinner so that the little monsters don’t starve (believe me, by 5:45 pm when we get home from picking up the kids, they can’t make it much longer without food).
Each morning, my husband wakes up at 5:15 am so that he can get to work for 6 am, which leaves me to get myself and the kids ready for the day and out the door. When his job demands more time of him, I pick up the kids, get dinner on the table and hopefully Mark makes it home before bedtime so that he can say goodnight to the littles. It is the nature of his work, the changing shifts, and we accept that. It’s harder on the kids.
“I don’t like daddy,” our three year old, Connor, said last night after Mark came in from a long day and asked for a hug (our 21 month old exuberantly hugged his father, thankfully). This wasn’t the first time that Connor has expressed his displeasure with his dad. He always wants me to read him the bedtime story and outright refuses Mark’s offerings to read, or he prefers when I brush his teeth or pour a glass of water for him. It gets worse when Mark is away for work or working long shifts. The disheartening fact is I see the kids more therefore I am the one that they favor for bruised knees and cuddles.
What Connor doesn’t understand, and what I try to explain in the simplest way, is that daddy works hard so that we can have our wonderful life.
What I don’t tell Connor is that the job market is soft and that we are lucky that Mark is employed right now, let alone busy. That in the trades, you take the work when you can get it, even when it means long stretches away from your family, or 24 hour shifts to get the job done. It means physically demanding work lifting, fitting, climbing, kneeling for long stretches. It means reading blueprints, organizing your materials and making sure that you can do the job in the most efficient way for the least amount of money. It means doing this work in the stripping wind or drizzling rain or frigid thirty below temperatures that make up our Canadian winters. It means injuries like burns on arms and fingers smashed and metal on toes or worse. It means the men (and women) who work these kinds of jobs are tough and strong willed and they love their families. Because it takes a certain kind of strength to work away from the ones you love to give them the best that you can.
So this one is for the dads. Often underappreciated, too often over simplified.Thank you for all that you do.