A question to fathers (and mothers about your husbands). How much time should a man spend with his children? If you’re sole breadwinner, do you find you have to spend long hours away from your family? Any Catholic stay-at-home-dads? Do you feel that you have to keep a certain distance, leave the nurturing to your wife, or do you get involved in every part of raising your child? Were you present at the birth?
I have 4 sons and helped deliver each one of them. My wife and I both work full time but I usually work about 60 hours a week (some weeks are normal though).
My parents were both teachers when I was young so they had the summers and all school holidays off and thus both my mom and dad were very engaged - I have tried to be the same.
The good thing with my job is that while I may stay a little late, I can log on from remote and work from home at night once the boys are in bed. Yes, I’m always needing more sleep but it gives me time to devote to them and my wife. We play games together (both computer and normal), watch some TV, play outside, read, do homework etc…
I can’t imagine having children and not wanting to be with them all the time. My father passed away before they were born but I was lucky in that I knew my father better than most people will ever know theirs. Hopefully I can pass along that knowledge and love to my sons as well.
I’m not a father or a mother, but I felt I NEEDED to answer this (at this time, no one else did either )
My father traveled alot when I was growing up. He was a successful buisness man who provided both my sister and I with a wonderful upbringing. We had whatever we wanted, within reason, of course. We were not spolied too badly, though.
He always had time for my sister and I. He went to baseball games, drama plays, you name it.
A real man makes the time for his wife and family, and doesn’t blame “work” or “providing for his family” as a reason not too.
Present at birth? Nope, we adopted.
It is very important to be involved with the kids. They need a mother and father (If not, then why was Mary with Jesus after he passed from being St. Joseph’s kid to being The Son of God?)
It is also important to make certain that your children understand how important work is in life. When I have to work on Saturdays I often bring one or more children so that they understand that Daddy works. Then we have fun afterwards. Kids need to know that both parents love them and that both consider them valuable enough to give them their time.
Mothers get lots of well deserved praise, but for my money being a Dad is really what it’s all about. Sorry, not the hokey pokey.
Years ago I saw a bumper sticker that read
Dad. The most important job title I’ll ever have.
That stuck with me because it is something I have always believed. I don’t know that there is a right answer regarding how much time to spend with your children. In many respects “time” is a catch all term to imply engagement in the upbringing of your kids. It’s really more than just time, even “quality time.” (Gosh, I hate that term!)
In my experience, my role as a father is a natural extension of my role as a husband. My wife now works part time, but until recently she was a stay at home mom. In that role she was certainly the primary care giver, but that didn’t lessen the nature of our partnership. Just like every marriage is different, every parenting relationship is different. The key is open communication and cooperation with you spouse. Mutual support and prior agreement on key principles and values is incredibly support.
The single biggest achievement I can ever have is raising faithful, capable children who are well prepared to succeed in life. Obviously the definition of success is relative, but that’s another thread.
I don’t have any kids, nor am I a male, but I did want to say that I think it’s very important to be active in your children’s lives. Both my parents worked while I was little, but I really feel as though my mom really cared more about us than my father. I really wish he would have spent more quality time with us as kids and showed us that he really did love us.
As it is now, I do feel as though he loves us, but sometimes I don’t feel as though he loves us as much as my mom does. Perhaps my feelings would have been different had he spent more time with us.
So, I really urge all the dads to please spend time with your children. Especially your daughters. I think that a father daughter relationship is important. Show them what a loving man is like. And be active in their lives. It really is important to be there for them, not just support them by working all day.
Just my 2 cents…
My husband is very involved with our kids. He practically delivered all 3 (he “caught” them all - our midwife included him wonderfully!) and he cut the umbilical cords for all 3.
Infancy is difficult because they rely on me so much for nursing, etc, but beyond that he can handle it all!
He does work long hours, but we’re thankful for his job - if he continues to do well maybe one day I can leave my job!! Even though he gets home late (usually around 8:30) from work he is still quite involved in everything - we just adjust our family schedule around him… who cares if we eat dinner late and the kids go to bed late?! - we’re flexible in order to have time together as a family.
I think having me work has helped us balance the parenting - not because he feels obliged to “relieve me from the kids”, but because we work together on everything as a TEAM. We have a good partnership in parenting - not too heavily weighted on either of us - very balanced.
That’s a great post, and philosophy, EM. This is pretty much how it works with my dh and me…including his long hours at work!
As much as he can.
My husband leaves every weekday for work at 7:00am-ish, and comes home around 6:00pm. When he’s not at work, he’s at home (or all of us go out together) or at Mass. Oh, and he does the grocery shopping on his way home from work, because we only have one car.
I don’t know any, personally, but I also don’t know any stay-at-home moms, either, in my area.
We’re a team. I spend most of the day with the kids, so I bear most of the daily responsibility for childcare, discipline, etc., but he does a great job working with me when he comes home.
I’m a full time stay at home dad of 4, 3 boys and 1 girl. I’m a sahd because of a temporary disiblity and some finacial security. After fighting cancer at the age of 32, there is no other place I’d rather be. It can be tough because I lack the motherly patience, but I am very close with my kids. Yes I have been at the births of my children, even the twins, now eight. I am blessed that we own land and the kids don’t have a shortage of chores to do. I think it is important to keep being the head, esp. spiritualy, of the household. If I thought my wife was burdened by the situation, I would switch with her in a minute, but as it is, she works for the Federal Gov’t with great pay and benefits and enjoys her work. I think each child is different in their needs concerning mommy time or daddy time and knowing when to back off or embrace is for that particuliar situation. Tim
im a stay at home dad of 2, a 3 year old son and 10 month old daughter.
best job ever.
Thanks for all of the input. That’s awesome.
I guess the thing I need to remember is that as Catholics, there isn’t one model for how to do it, even though some people will try to tell you their way is the best. Just as there are lots of different religious orders who all practice being priests and brothers in different ways, so there are lots of different ways of being a faithful spouse.
I think you got it!
One caveat – while there certainly are many models on how to be a successful father, there are probably an infinite number of ways to screw it up. If you start from the foundation of a solid marriage and move ahead with an understanding of your responsibilities as a parent and a Catholic, you should do fine.