It’s 8:35 p.m. and I just put my son to bed. That’s not surprising, since I’ve done that almost every night since he was born. But usually when I put him to bed I’ve already spent four hours with him, fed him dinner, played games, given him a bath and read books. And that doesn’t even count our morning routine during which I get him dressed and take him to school.
But that was before I started my new job.
Now I’m awake before 6 a.m. and out the door by 6:30. Usually Will isn’t even up yet. After commuting two hours to my new office I work a full day and then make the two-hour trek back home. Almost the whole trip—71 miles each way—is in gridlock. It’s after 7 p.m. when I finally get home. I’ve missed dinner, which is sad because I know sitting down to a meal together is MJ’s favorite part of the day. No TV, no laptop, no cell phone…just the three of us talking and eating. Together.
By the time I get settled and scarf down leftovers, it’s time for Will’s bath. And 30 minutes later it’s bedtime. Lights out. That’s it.I went from being my son’s primary caregiver to spending two hours a day with him. And not much longer with my wife.
It’s been really tough.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like my new job and all of my co-workers. The commute sucks but I’ve got my podcasts and I’m adjusting to it. But I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to being a part-time parent. To hearing my 3-year-old ask why I don’t bring him to school anymore and why I can’t come home earlier to see him. It’s disconcerting I’m no longer the one getting daily updates from his preschool teachers, hearing about who he played with or playing his favorite music on the way to and from school.
It got so bad that this morning, while I was getting ready, I kept hoping Will would wake up. And when he didn’t wake up on his own, I “accidentally” made some noise in his room. Just so I could have 15 extra minutes with him.
Making more money is a great thing and I’m proud to provide for my family. But I miss them. Terribly.