A tough tightrope to walk

By Published On: April 6th, 2015

It’s been quite a challenging few weeks since I last […]

ben when im awayIt’s been quite a challenging few weeks since I last posted but not because of Ben, he’s been his usual wonderful self, and every day he has done something that makes me want to laugh and cry simultaneously. It’s been a challenge because of work.
For a while now I have had on my calendar a few weeks from hell in which I would have to travel around and work 18-hour days, sometimes having to stay away overnight. Although this is usual for me from time to time, what isn’t usual about these trips is that I’m now a father.
And it’s been tough.
I’ve found myself feeling conflicted about what I do. Usually I’m excited to get away and work my butt off for good reasons, and I absolutely love my job—but this time felt very different. Instead of feeling like I’m blessed for what I do for a living, I feel like it’s taking me away from my little boy.
I’ve had to sleep in a few hotels, and each morning about half 4 in the morning I have woken up in a panic because I hadn’t heard him breathing heavy as he sleeps. Each time it has taken me a few seconds to remember where I am, and then I struggle to sleep again because I want to see him desperately.
I hate the fact that sometimes I only see my boy awake for maybe half an hour in a day, if I’m lucky, and sometimes not seeing him awake at all. Ben and my partner are now my reason for working so hard—above pride or the need to be the best at what I do. Every hour that I’m away working, I am thinking of how it will benefit our household with our reduced income—but I cannot help but feel, from time to time, that I’m failing. I feel like a failure as his daddy. I didn’t want to be an absent dad, but sometimes I have to be. The tightrope between being there as much as I can but having to work hard is a tough one to walk.
I know that I’ve mentioned before that being away is something I struggle with, but these past few weeks have been different. It’s made me question my approach to things and for the first time I am challenging myself to create change that gets the results needed for my family and allows me to be around more as a father.
Despite struggling with how to balance the tightrope, there are some positives I’ve learned to see from these past couple weeks: The first is that by working away and putting in the hours, I can provide my family with what they need. My little boy has started swimming lessons ( I go to my first with him next week), and my partner has the ability to buy what she wants or needs, and the pride I feel for being able to give that is amazing. The second is the recognition I have gotten from Ben. Because I have been getting home at very late times, Ben hasn’t seen me until the early morning, When he opens his eyes and sees I’m there, he gives me a massive smile. Letting me know that he loves me. It doesn’t make up for the absence, but it sure helps me perservere until I find a better way. And thank god for technology, so I can see pics of him when I’m away, like the one with this post.
Finally I just want to say to those mums and dads who are reading this and nodding because you have to do the same—but constantly, not just for a few weeks every now and then: You’re awesome. I really don’t understand how you have that much strength to be away. Two weeks has been so tough. I can’t wait to have a bit of normality return and be with my boy.