Parent Guilt Is Something Dads Feel Too
Feeling bad about not being at home with your kids during the working week? We have 4 tips for Dads in alleviating that dreaded parent guilt.
Whether you work irregular shifts consisting of early starts or night work; or commute long distances to work, you will probably find yourself suffering with parental guilt. Namely – frustrated you are not at home with your family as much as you wish.
Your partner may send you updates on how the evening routine has gone; they may send you cute pics of the kids in their pyjamas. You may even sneak in some Facetime to speak and see one another. But you are stuck at work, or you are still over one hour away from getting through the door. Your train is also delayed. Up steps parent guilt. You don’t let on to your partner or the kids, but deep inside you feel bad about not being physically able to read them a bedtime story.
Book A Day Off During The Week
The next day you arrive for work, ensure the first thing you do before you check the emails or grab a coffee is to book a day off during the week. It is annual leave after all. You may see this as a waste of a day, but you will be surprised at how good it feels to break up your working week by spending it with your child/ren. Use it to spend the day at home playing games and making a mess; you could go to the beach; have a picnic in the garden; you could do the school runs you wish you did. The day is your oyster.
Yes, your kid may have childcare arrangements in place at a nursery, childminder or grandparents, but you are the parent, you can do as you wish if it means your priceless bonding with you children improves.
Request Simple Flexible Working Alterations
If your commute is so long and frustrating at times, maybe think about requesting an opportunity to work from home a couple of times per week. Or have a chat to see whether you could start or finish early/later. Employers have a legal duty to listen to these requests and must come up with very good business reasons to deny them. Slightly tweaking your working hours and conditions, can free you up to walk your child to school or to pick them from nursery at lunchtime. It can provide you with simple opportunities to do normal, every-day parenting thing which some take for granted.
Use Shift Working To Your Advantage
Working anti-social hours will mean you are off when your own friends and family members are at work. But your mornings off or your weekly Wednesday off may mean you can be daddy for the day. You and your child all day. And no-one is going to get in the way. Not even tiredness. Truly make the most of these times you have with them. Yes, your body clock may be shot to pieces, you are lethargic and can’t really make the effort in doing much. But these are the days which will swim by in the blink of an eye. Make this the time you put 100% effort in; lots of energy; plans and above all else, lots of laughter.
Take Your Child To Work
More and more employers are holding events where you can bring your children to work with you for the day. Why not take them up on this and bring your own? Make sure to ask them if they are aware of a pioneering initiative that Employees Matter has been rolling out across coporate Britain since 2013 called ‘bring your child to work day’. If you commute on a train and endure lonely, stressful journeys, what better way to cheer you up than having your child with you to experience it with you. When you are having a tough day or commute, you can fondly remember the moment your son or daughter joined you on the trip and made you smile. And they can get a sense of where you go every day.
Give them a Kiss Goodnight
Even if you are late home or it is midnight, never feel afraid to pop in to your child’s room to tuck them in and peck them on the cheek to wish them a good night… Even if they are busy dreaming about dinosaurs or breakfast… These type of small gestures help immensely when you feel that parent guilt strike.