Father Time presents:
“Life & Times – Fathers and Their Views about Time”
Featuring a real-life dad offering his take on time
Tom B. (Washington)
Status: Married, two kids: Daughter age four, son seven months
Wife is a homemaker and sanity-keeper
FT: Describe a key distinction you’ve made about time as a single man versus being a married man with children? E.g. when did time start to matter?
TB: The moment time started to matter was when it wasn’t my own anymore. When my wife’s welfare, and later our children’s, benefits and well-being superseded my own (back in 2008, when we first met) is when time started to matter. It all changed when each decision I made affected someone else. Since that moment, I’ve made sure that my time is dedicated to ensuring my wife’s and children’s time is spent bettering their lives.
FT: Describe how you and your wife manage time within the family: creating free/alone time for each partner, family time with the kids, couple/date night. Do you follow a strict or loose schedule as a family?
TB: Due to the way my time is organized (as mentioned above), time revolves around my wife and children. Primarily, the children’s needs take precedence over mine and my wife’s. So, really all time we’re at home is in one way or another family time. We’re eating, playing, reading, cooking, or cleaning together. The main time hack we follow is bed time. I’m able to sleep at any time for any number of small or numerous hours, but my wife and children need to get their allotted rest to function properly. I always remember the saying, “A happy wife means a happy life.” So, I try to make sure my family is able to rest up at their normal times.
As for couple/date nights, we have to coordinate down to the last minute whenever we want to try and spend time together, away from our kids. It’s rare, but it does happen. More often than not, we each take one child for a trip somewhere. Typically, I take both of them with me somewhere on an errand with a side-trip planned for their distraction and father-children bonding time, thereby giving my wife a much-deserved break (read: quiet time). Later, that turns into an easier time for us to spend quiet/couple time together.
FT: What has been the biggest challenge with time as a family (e.g. not having enough time, etc.)
TB: My work schedule keeps me away from them for too many hours during the day. When I arrive home, there’s very little time to actually unwind from the workday’s stresses and be at home with my family. That situation often makes me regret working in my current job.
FT: Describe a time success story you’ve had as a father or as a family. For example: how you’ve managed the kids on your own so your wife can have free time, or any other discoveries or “hacks” your family has made to better manage or honor time.
TB: My daughter and I are fairly close. She and I love to play, horseplay essentially, whenever I get home or whenever there’s a free moment. Each time we get to watch something Disney-related while she climbs on my back, my shoulders or tummy, I consider it a victory in fatherhood. My own father didn’t do that kind of stuff with me, so I’m happy my little girl and eventually my little boy, can do that with me. Even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time a day, it still adds up over time (no pun intended) and reinforces our bonds constantly. It also gives my wife a break from watching our energetic daughter, allowing her to focus on herself and our infant son for a little while. It’s a nearly daily event and though it doesn’t constitute a single success story, it helps us make the best of the time we have together.
Link to Part 4