Raising the Children of a Workaholic Dad

I am the wife of one of the hardest working men I know. Our two sons are blessed to have such a strong role model in their lives. However, when dad is away, the children will play. Because my sons, ages 7 and 10, have always viewed me as the ‘easy’ parent, I work hard to keep our home together; while their father is laboring. Though not a stay-at-home mom, I am fortunate to work a simple 8-5 and be at home in the evening with the boys. My husband, on the other hand, works two to three jobs minimum and is away most evenings. Careful to not allow the boys to fall out of routine, my second job becomes Drill Sergeant Mom.

Homework Time

After school ends at 2:50, my children are off to their after-school program. On a typical day, they arrive at home around 6pm or so. A quick hug, kiss and hello to mom are the only things that take place, prior to homework time. David and Matthew know that they must complete their studies, before television or playtime is an option. Most weekdays, they are encouraged to read, write a report on what they’ve read and spend an hour or so playing quietly. On days when no homework is given, their father or I take the time to find something educational for them to do. Practicing in their Iowa Test Prep books, learning math, playing with educationally enhanced toysâÂ?¦my children are always learning.

Dinner Time

Homework is completed and checked by mom. Dinner is generally on the table no later than 7pm. Sometimes, dinner time comes before homework time. (According to my boys, they can’t think on an empty stomach). In any case, homework and dinner are taken care of by 7:30, depending on the complexity of the meal. Though I love to cook, a typical work day sometimes leads to McDonalds Nuggets (their choice of dipping sauce), cookies, juice and some sort of vegetable.

Television Time

Watching television throughout the week is a privilege and not a necessity. My children know that movie night may not come until Friday and are ecstatic when given the option. They are not allowed to view just anything. With the vast amount of ‘junk’ on television, I find myself playing private eye in a desperate attempt to ensure they aren’t getting an eyeful of sexually explicit, horrendously violent or otherwise contaminating content.

Curfew

By 8:45pm, my children are wrapping up their evening. Baths, toothbrushes and pajamas are about as exciting as things are going to get, at this point. Their weekday curfew is 9pm and I try hard to stick by it. There are, however, occasions when a turned up lip or salty tear have coaxed me into allowing an extra 15 minutes. (I’m an easy target for my boys). On a whole, the boys know they must at least be lying down pretending to sleep by 9:30pm. I don’t care to hear what all the other kids are allowed to do. My children are taught that our home is run under its own set of rules.

Because my children, the youngest in particular, often miss their dad; I find myself giving the mother-son talks. I encourage my sons to not look at the situation as daddy being gone all the time but as daddy working hard to support his family. I usually get the typical question “why does he have to go to work all the time?” I have found that keeping the boys
grounded is not as hard as some people think. However, I understand that there are, and will be in the future; many questions that dad will have to answer. I can only teach the boys what I know from a female and mom’s perspective. They will seek guidance regarding things for which only a man’s perspective will make sense.

Though their father is now stuck in the cycle of workaholic dad, I am confident that he will continue to rise to the challenge when needed. In the meantime, I will keep on hitting the home gym, eating my Wheaties and spinach and doing whatever else I need to do to keep our home going strong. With two active, growing boys, my children have proven that I’ll need to build stamina like never before.

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