Today I offer you a guest post from my friend James Hudyma, creative genius behind Dads Round Table and all around nice guy. His Twitter bio is as follows: Dad. Husband. Teacher. Minivan. Some hair. Some gut. Strong coffee. Guitars. Songwriter. EduDad. Dads Round Table. I think he may have left off a few things. Words like: Talented. Supportive. Funny.
We see posts all the time about working moms and stay at home moms, so I thought why not try to get the point of view from a working dad. I knew James was (is) a teacher so I asked him to write something for me as a dad that not only works hard to provide for his family, but works even harder to be involved with his kids. I was fortunate enough to receive a quick, affirmative response from James and I danced a little jig when this arrived in my email. I want to thank him profusely for taking the time to write this for me, and I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the life of a Modern Working Dad.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Modern Working Dad
One of my favorite books is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Featured in the book are two very different renditions of the same experience. One has a tiger. One is more realistic. In the spirit of this book I am going to tell two tales about A Typical Day in the Life of a Modern Working Dad. One is blog life. One is more realistic.
Ebbs and Flows of Joy and Pain: A Modern Working Dad
Saying good-bye to my children each morning is a dagger in my heart. As I give them one last hug and kiss I bask in their love and look lovingly into their eyes and I tell them with all my heart they are my reason for living.
As I drive to work my mind lingers on the beautiful faces of my children and I shake my fist at a world where both parents must work. When I arrive in the parking lot I meditate quietly to clear my mind and focus on how these hours away from my family are financially necessary.
My eyes often wander to my desk where portraits of my family greet me; I smile externally but inside my heart is alight with a bittersweet glow. Bitter because I pine to be with them at that moment but sweet because they bring me so much joy.
I could go on but I’m starting to make myself sick. I love my kids. I would die for my kids but the art and poetry these bloggers paint their feelings with only makes me feel like a horrible failure as a parent. Whenever I think of my kids it makes me feel happy but I don’t think about them all the time. That would be weird. Right?
Next is more realistic story.
It takes forever to get out the door because my wife has to give the kids one more last-hug-and-kiss and then one more last-hug-and-kiss. We tell them we love them and to have a great day. When we finally leave for work I feel no guilt about leaving the kids in the care of our nanny. Why would I? My wife, also a teacher, is guilt ridden even though she was raised by a working mom. Why is that?
The Commute to Work
On days my wife and I take separate vehicles I just crank the music and rock out until I get to school. On days we drive together we’ll talk until I drop her off at her school and then the rockin’ begins. We always talk about the kids. Mostly we worry.
The Work Day
I teach. When I see my family pictures on my desk it makes me smile.
The Commute Home
Loud music until I get home or until I pick my wife up from her school. We talk about the kids. Mostly we worry.
I take the kids to their activities. We sing songs and talk on the way there. When the activity begins I watch a bit and play on my phone a bit. The parent not on a phone judges us. I feel guilty and play on my phone a little less. On the way home there is more
singing and talking.
Whoever isn’t with me is with mom. We really believe one on one time is important so even though it would be more efficient, we book our children’s activities on different days.
My wife cooks with the assistance of whichever kid is home with her. We always eat dinner together. It’s a time to connect, practice manners, and talk about our day. I do the dishes with whichever kid was out with me. After all is said and done we go outside to play. If the weather is bad we head downstairs to play.
Bath. Read books and do homework. Snack. Brush teeth. Tuck in. We alternate kids so if I tuck in my son tonight, I’ll tuck in my daughter tomorrow night. I tell stories. My wife sings songs.
The Kids are Asleep
This is the only time I get to myself. If I’m going to go out with friends, this is when I go. If my wife and I take time for each other, whether that time is at home or on a date, this is when we take it. Most nights:
My wife reads. I write articles for Dads Round Table. We go to bed. We talk about the kids. Mostly we worry.
Most of my struggles as a working dad are the same as any other parent. As far as balancing work and home, I will leave you with this:
I’m a dad. I do my very best to be the best dad I can be. I’m a teacher. I do my very best to be the best teacher I can be. Finding a balance between the two can be difficult but I’ve found I’m happiest when I prioritize family first. My kids get more of me than my career and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I want thank James from the bottom of my sweet little heart for writing this for me. It is so nice to not only get the view from a dad, but to have a little help here on the old blog. Be sure to follow James on his website, on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube