Am I still a stay-at-home dad if I’m never home?

JUNE 22, 2016 By Jeff Bogle

It’s a truly first world problem, I know, but it’s a problem nonetheless.

You see, I am in the throes of a work / life balance quandary because the line between the two is not so much of a line but a perforated edge in a frayed spiral bound notebook. My family life is my work life, but not all the work involves the family. Strange, I know.

Balancing the new and exciting opportunities in my personal and professional life with being an actively-involved dad-at-home has, over the past six months, become a push and pull struggle. I want to experience all or at least a lot of the professional opportunities being sent my way but I’d also like to watch my kids grow up, you know?

My sudden and surprising new travel schedule has started to take its toll on my daughters too. They once thought it was kinda neat that daddy got to go places and have fun by himself (and sometimes bring home toys or at least really cool-shaped USB drives).  Now they cry through sleepy-eyed hugs at 4 a.m. because daddy has to catch a plane to … somewhere. Their tears are understandable. I’m shedding them too.

A quick bit of background: eight years ago I left the corporate workforce to be a full-time dad. These days it feels like I’m closer to an absentee father than one who oncecommitted to making lunches every morning and greeting my kids with a smile in the school pick-up line each afternoon.

I recognize that while the specifics of my work/life situation may be somewhat unique, the scenario of a parent being away from his or her kids for work is not uncommon. Long-haul truckers, flight attendants, athletes, musicians and many others have work commitments that take them physically and mentally away from their kids and significant others. The ironic thing in my case is that it’s all my writing about being a dad that has brought on many of the chances to shirk my dadly responsibilities. It’s one big oxymoron.

I’ve finally decided that unless the offer of solo travel is grand (a trip to Rio to watch Olympic soccer this summer, for example) I am going to turn down most, if not all, of the opportunities that may be offered to me for the remainder of 2016. Because — and I cannot believe that my loner self has reached this point — what’s the point of experiencing life if I’m experiencing it alone?

Even if there are thumb drives in the shape of electric guitars to be had.

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