I don’t think I’ve spent many nights away from my wife and kids since the kids were born but when I have I’ve tended to be wracked with guilt. And it’s not the sort of guilt you’d expect either*. Take this weekend gone by, I was flying first class to Abu Dhabi and doing all sorts of fun stuff- rides in a drag racer, hot laps round the F1 track and so on but I still felt dead guilty.
Guilty because when the plan landed at 7am local time, my twitter timeline was full of comments from my wife about how our two year old had been up hollering for me and still was. The UK time? 4am. I’d love to say this is a one off but it isn’t. Even when I go out to book group once in a blue moon, I usually come back to find the boy asleep in bed next to wifey.
Some of it is undoubtedly down to me doing the whole bed time routine with the pair of them. I’m lucky enough to work locally so most of the time I can get home in time to bath them and read a story to them. It’s probably more unnerving for them when I’m not there to do it than it is when wifey has gone out as she tends to stay out of the way and have a bit of piece and quiet while I get them ready for bed.
Most of it though, without a shadow of a doubt, is the pair of them being little sods. Wifey plays better with them, has more patience with them and is kinder and more understanding with them than I am. But the pair of them like to do the whole psychological warfare thing on her when I’m not there. Yes, some of it will be down to me not being there as much so easier to miss but even so, their response is daft. And anyway, after begging for me all weekend when I was away, sobbing all night, and generally being a pair of arses, what did they both do when I arrived home? Turned their backs on me, wiggled their bottoms at me and shouted “Poo poo Daddy” as loud as they could. They didn’t want me really, they just wanted to play up.
Like a lot of Dad’s, I’m not around as much as their Mum is, so a lot of the discipline falls on her since the kids are young enough (at two and four) that they need to be told off there and then for naughtiness but I do try and do my fair share of being cross with them when the situation requires it. Obviously need to try a bit harder going forwards!
* to be fair I would feel the “I’m doing something great that you’re not” guilt if this other form of guilt wasn’t so strong.