A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.
Don Corleone, The Godfather
This may sound like the kind of advice that would be dispensed by a modern, progressive 21st century dad but, of course, it’s a quote from the 1972 film of a 1969 novel – The Godfather – and one delivered by the head of the Corleone organised crime family.
Nevertheless, despite the questionable provenance, these are wise words. We work to provide a good life for our family, but what point is there if we are not there to enjoy that life with them?
As the saying goes: work to live, not live to work.
Of course, not everyone has a free choice. Some have to work ridiculous hours or spend long spells away from home because that is what they need to do to make ends meet. And who among us wouldn’t appreciate a better job paying better money?
However, many of us do have a choice. It may mean having to tighten our belts or making other lifestyle sacrifices. But an increasing number of dads are taking their paternity leave entitlement. And more are choosing to work more flexible or part-time hours, or even taking the plunge and becoming stay-at-home dads. (You may have seen the article in Saturday’s Times magazine which featured, among others, John from Dad Blog UK and Dan from One man and his sprog.)
I’m not one of those dads insofar that I have a regular full-time job. But at the same time I’ve flagged myself internally as someone who doesn’t want to be considered for a job that involves lots of travel. That has probably limited me in terms of my career options but that’s okay. I have a job that still pays well that allows me to be at home most mornings and evenings to see the kids (even if it does mean doing some work at home). It means I am missing out a bit in the pocket but I am also gaining in other respects.
It’s not something that’s right for every parent, but I decided a long time ago that it was the right decision for me. To paraphrase Don Corleone from a later point in the above conversation, my family made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.