A Career Woman Answers the Question Does a Hard Working Dad Feel Guilt & Doesn’t Even Know She Did

I was reading this article from Good Housekeeping titled I’m 99% Mom and 1% Wife: And It Has to be That Way.  Really?  It has to be this way?  I don’t think it does nor should it be that way.  

I put John last, pretty much all the time. And it’s not like he’s a bad guy — far from it. He does the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, makes the kids’ lunches, even braids my daughter’s hair. He often compliments me, and regularly asks if we can go away, alone, for a weekend, or at least out to lunch.

I tell him I have no time for leisurely lunches, let alone two entire days away. I can’t be bothered to figure out who is going to take care of our kids, pack, unpack, then scramble getting ready for Monday morning.

What kind of marriage is that?  Now I realize that feminists have, over the years, made marriage seem like a bad thing, but why even bother to keep pretending you have a marriage if this is truly how you feel?  


It is very hard to keep a marriage going after the kiddos come along.  The more you have, the more time the kids will take up.  But, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to behave like being a spouse is unimportant. 


While I think many people think the skill sets for being a parent and being a spouse are pretty much the same, they are also very different.  Your children should be enhancing your marriage, not causing you to ignore it.   


She goes on:

I’ve spoken this sentence to John. “Let me be clear: If I have to choose between you or one of the kids, you will lose every time. Do you have a problem with that?”

No why would he?  It isn’t like he is their father and loves just as much as she does.  

I put John last, pretty much all the time. And it’s not like he’s a bad guy — far from it. He does the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, makes the kids’ lunches, even braids my daughter’s hair. He often compliments me, and regularly asks if we can go away, alone, for a weekend, or at least out to lunch.

I tell him I have no time for leisurely lunches, let alone two entire days away. I can’t be bothered to figure out who is going to take care of our kids, pack, unpack, then scramble getting ready for Monday morning.

But she is the main breadwinner.  

For most of the last 10 years, I’ve been the breadwinner. I worked long hours commuting into Manhattan full-time. Now, John has a job, but I still commute, and also work from home trying to keep us ahead of the bills.

My older son is in college, and I will save him from student loans or die trying. My younger son has some special needs, and keeping him on track is a full-time job. My daughter, like any 11-year-old girl, wants her mom to listen, to watch, to help. The clock is ticking on her innocence, and I dare not miss a second of what’s left of it.

I am tired, and I am worried. Worried there won’t be enough. Enough money, enough luck, enough time, enough of me. John’s a great dad, but I play a singular role in each of my kid’s lives. And as they’ve grown, the urgency to get it right screams at me, day and night.

It sounds like that John was a stay at home for a period of time.  So that makes her comments even more shocking.  By that I mean isn’t it feminists that keep harping on this stupid theory that some how men who are out working don’t get what it is like to have the responsibility of home life and the female gets stuck with all those roles?  In this family the roles are reversed.  He is the one doing the day to day, yet she still realizes that a mom and a dad have different roles in the life of a child.  Their expectations of what they want from them are different.  


She has taken on the traditional role of the man in her family, yet isn’t happy that she has to worry about the money being enough, the time being enough, the kids getting enough. 


No matter what your particular family dynamic is, there is guilt either way.  This woman has answered those questions for feminists without realizing she has done it.  It is strangely and sadly comical.  


The main breadwinner who is out working feels guilt.  They too wish they had more time to be a more active and involved parent and spouse.  But there is only so much to go around, so they take shortcuts and prioritize what works best for them.  


There are no easy ways to navigate marriage and parenthood.  But ignoring your spouse and putting your marriage on the back-burner you are doing your children no favors.  They aren’t seeing a healthy relationship  By thinking that having a big Christmas with every little thing they ask for under the tree will make up for the shortcomings of not being around, the only person you’re deluding is yourself.  


This woman may be a much happier person as well as a both a better parent and spouse if she realizes that providing all the material things isn’t nearly as important as giving of yourself.  Forgo some of the extra Christmas and birthday gifts.  Let your kids take on a little of the responsibility of paying for college, or send them to a community college for two years.  You can spend your money in different ways and not feel this burden to “have it all”.  


To John, you obviously love your wife and children very much.  One day they are going to read this article and fully understand what it means; and they will love you all the more.