My husband is a family man. He goes grocery shopping with me and he enjoys our little family routines. He likes to spend time with the kids and he likes to come home early to see the kids. He likes to still have some energy left for them in the evenings when he returns from work. Usually he doesn’t though. He leaves home very early before everyone is awake. By the time he gets home, have dinner, does some work, he is usually so tired he falls asleep immediately. This leaves us only the weekend for the family.

This makes him a hero in our eyes but what does this make him at work? I am afraid that in these competitive times and in the corporate world, leaving work early does not look good. It makes him stand out like a sore thumb. It makes him a loner. It is a daily struggle for him.

I know he works hard, very hard. He brings leaves work early and brings work home because he likes to do his work in the comfort of home with the kids around him. He tries not to mind the distractions. Unfortunately I don’t think companies or bosses view leaving work early as being very ambitious. I’m afraid that if he turns down yet another drink session with the team in order to spend dinner with his own family instead he will be viewed as not a team worker.

It is hard for me to watch him struggle. We are a one income family. So his struggle is even worse. With me not working, we have no financial back-up so he must hold on to his job no matter what, no matter how tough, no matter how stressful. He has to struggle on day after day, working at peak performance, there is so much work and so little time. It would not be hard to sucumb to work, to spend more and more time at work and less and less time with the family but he tries his best not to, tries his best to go against the flow….

The flow against the tide of people fighting where only the fittest will survive. When you reach a certain age, a certain level, the fight gets worse. There are some who will push you down so they will rise. The others are too busy struggling against the current themselves to care about you. In a corporate culture where spending a lot of time at work, travelling, speaking, networking, you are a loser if you don’t comply to or meet those high standards. It is not easy to be a family man in this type of environment where you have to swim or sink. For a woman at least, to a certain extend, there is some understanding that she needs to spend time with the family but for a man its usually “Your wife can take care of it.”

Why is it so hard to balance work and family? Why must the scale tip towards work? Why don’t employers realise that a well balanced employee who has a happy and healthy family life is more productive than one who spends 12 hours at the workplace?

If I happen to speak to him at work, I can hear that he is tense and very, very busy. He speaks quickly and his sometimes his curt and tense speech takes some time to adjust at home. It is really not easy to switch from work to family. It takes a while. The weekend helps but it is over too quickly and then it is back to the grind again.

Sigh. I’m ranting because I feel for my man. I feel his tension and stress but I don’t know what I can do to help him. I feel so helpless….

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