Father Time presents:
“Life & Times – Fathers and Their Views about Time”
Featuring a real-life dad giving his take on time
Randy S. (Idaho)
Occupation: Department Manager in an ammunition manufacturing plant
Status: Married with two daughters, ages 4 and 6
Wife is a full time RN, working night shift
FT: Describe a time “success story” within your family.
RS: My wife works night shift, never the same days each week. This means that usually every other weekend she needs to sleep during the day to be able to function on her 12-hour night shifts. That also means that I am left with the kiddos. This isn’t really too big of a deal, but this winter it has been very difficult.
The first level of complication to this situation is that when my wife is sleeping, we, two energetic girls and their hyper-active dad, need to try to be somewhat quiet in the house. Our house is not overly big so it doesn’t take much to make a lot of noise. The next tricky part is that we live in a fairly small town, there is not much to go do outside of the house in bad weather. Plus, most of it costs and arm and a leg which isn’t an every weekend deal. The experience has really challenged me to look outside the box for activities to keep the kids engaged, and make the most of this father-daughter(s) time. I invented a form of kickball-dodgeball-soccer game in our basement that has been outstanding. I have been teaching the kids how to follow recipes for making cookies and dinners. We have had picnics in various rooms throughout the house and when the weather has allowed, we get out and explore the parks and nature preserves in the area.
What I have really learned is that each day we do something together is a success. I might not necessarily view it that way when the kids are tucked in and I am dead tired next to a pile of unfolded laundry or a sink full of dirty dishes, but somewhere down the line, I will look back and be grateful for the time we spent together.
FT: Describe the biggest challenge with time as a family.
RS: Last summer we bought a camper. The reason behind the purchase was that we were going to make a fun, financial commitment to our family. We were investing in ourselves instead of using the money to pay off student loans or something equally as stuffy and responsible. The camper would get us out of town. Out of cell phone range and away TV sets or iPads. We would start new traditions and see the beauty of the natural world around us.
One challenge that I did not expect to come out of buying the camper is the pressure to have a good time, every time we are out. Each trip needs to be memorable and fun. I almost feel a need to justify the purchase with each campsite that we roll into. This is another example of measuring success in terms of time instead of just sitting back and enjoying the time that we have made for each other. It is a mindset of my life that I am trying to change and hopefully a lesson that I can hand down to my kids. Maybe on a camping trip.”
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.