I’ve been so overwhelmed lately. Work has been crazy, as we’ve seen such a huge increase in traffic over the last few weeks (ask The DaddyYo Dude, he’s there for it. I saw it on his face last weekend), Hope’s spring semester of law school has started, the kids have been battling the crud (that’s what we call getting sick), and that damn dog keeps digging holes in the back yard. Ok, that last one doesn’t really bother me, but I did stand at the kitchen window and watch her dig two holes within 5 minutes yesterday morning. She’s a quick one.
There’s just so much going on, and it’s starting to drag me down. I just feel like I’m losing control, that I just can’t tighten my grip enough to make things go the way they should. To me, control is everything. I would wear the title “control freak” proudly, if it wasn’t for that “freak” part. Control Master would be more like it, or maybe Control Ninja or Control Jedi. Either one of those is fine. Anyway, when I’m not in control, or I feel like I am losing control, my brain automatically begins to analyze of all of the areas where breakdowns may occur, the areas that are slipping past me. Then I begin to troubleshoot all of the ways that I can turn it around and fix that breakdown of control. Seriously, you should see all of the schematics, notes, and thoughtmaps laying in my office.
So, when I began feeling this way a few weeks back, I started that process. I dissected everything that I didn’t have pinned down. I saw areas where I could tighten my grip, and came up with plans to wrestle control back from whoever had it other than myself. I went through with those plans and saw that things were starting to turn in my favor. It still didn’t help my feelings of being overwhelmed.
So, I dug a little deeper. There must be something there that I can change, something that will make all of this better. There had to be something that I missed. Maybe I’m just not organized enough. That’s it, I’ll work on my organization. I’m using my dayplanner to it’s full extent, using Evernote (if you haven’t yet, check out that app. It has absolutely changed my life. I spoke with an old business partner the other day that says the same thing. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I absolutely could not live without it now). I’m scheduling my tasks days in advance, and I’m spending time with my mentor every week. Still, it’s just not helping.
I shot through so many more ideas on what could be causing me so much stress, but I just couldn’t seem to find it. Then, today, I was lying on Gavin’s bed while he and Marley played on his computer. I wasn’t even paying much attention to them, as I was caught up in a conversation with one of my mangers through text. I didn’t even realize that she was asking me a question until she was right up in my face.
“Daddy, I asked you if I should put my feet up on Bubby’s desk, or if I should hang them over the side of the chair. You need to put your phone down and answer me, cause I want to know right now.” She was only inches from my face. Bright blue eyes, opened as wide as they could possibly go, just daring me to not pay attention. I’ve never seen a human’s eye out of the socket. I hear that it is gigantic, that you can only see a small part between their eyelids. I believe that, because I have never seen that much of a human’s eyeball until that moment. Blood vessels, cornea, iris, maybe even a little optical nerve. Grossed me out a little, but her eyes are just so cute that they pulled me right back in.
Let’s just think for a minute about the question that she asked me. Really, would the place where she put her feet matter in 30 minutes? No, it wouldn’t. Years from now, when she’s lying in her bed thinking about whatever social issues that are keeping her up that night, like what color headband to wear with those shoes or what she was going to do for her science experiment, would she really ever really remember sitting at her brother’s desk, fretting over where to put her feet?
No, she wouldn’t. Years or even just months from now it won’t really matter. Honestly, she has probably forgotten about it by now. That doesn’t matter in this case. What matters right now is right now. Right now she is truly confused on where to put her feet, on what the right thing to do is. Right now she is coming to me to help her solve a problem, and I can’t pull myself away from work long enough to help her out. She won’t remember what the issue was, but she will remember that I didn’t help her solve it. There it is, that’s what has been stressing me out.
I have let my work steal me away from my family. That kills me, drive me absolutely insane. I don’t want to be “that” Daddy. I don’t want to be the absentee dad who is there only in body but not in mind. I don’t want to be part-time. I want it all. I want them to look back on their younger years and see that I was right there beside of them, brushing teeth and wiping butts and playing Barbie and building Legos and dancing along with whatever version of Just Dance they put it. I want to be there. I will be there.
So, I have made the decision to scale it back. I want to be successful, I want to grow my business, but not at the expense of my family. So, if you are getting this message after I have left work for the day, please leave a message at the beep, and I will return your call as soon as I am done playing Jedi Training Camp.
4 thoughts on “What’s been bugging me.”
The work vs home balancing act is a tough one indeed sir. As you said, you’ve seen it in my eyes, and we have had many discussions on this at work. Now you see why changing my hours like I have was so important to me!
But in a lot of ways, doing what you do, in the field you do it, is a great example to those kids within itself. You are showing the character and strength to do, not necessarily exactly what you want to be doing, but what you have to be doing because your family depends on it.
The pendulum will hang straight in the middle one day. It won’t be easy, but it won’t be too hard. The important thing is that being a great dad means knowing how to ride the pendulum when it is in full swing.
Great post sir!
Running a business and being a Dad can put a large toll on you.
Right now I am struggling as my business has never taken off the ground and 2011 was the worst year. I have to find a balance but when income is not coming in and I am struggling with keeping a roof over our head and the business floating on occasions I tend to forget that my family is a priority.
I have been using various tools to organize myself a bit better. I have cut down on Watching TV to almost none. I have scaled back on my reading so I use that time to spend with my 13 month old daughter.
I know how it feels and their is no easy answer for this one!
I am battling this very issue, but it is in my Girlfriend. See 3 years ago my Wife left and took the kids, the kids that I wanted to be there for, to not be an “absentee” Father. You see, I took a “lesser” job so I could be with them more and be more available before my Ex left, now I see them every other weekend and 1 two hour visit a week due to an unfair decision by a trial Judge. I can’t go to their Gymnastics class or any other activity that isn’t during “MY” time so I’ve accepted this, though I despise it. My Girlfriend suffers from anxiety, she needs to be in control so she can be prepared for everything…no surprises…EVER. I have tried to explain to her that surprises aren’t bad, we prepare the best we can and leave the rest to God, Chaos, Fate…whatever you like. Knowing what’s coming all the time leaves little room for the bad surprises, but it also leaves little room for the good surprises, the ones you look back on and laugh, smile and/or cry. Life is meant to be lived and not managed, learn to let go, do what you can and let the rest go….it’s a wonderfully freeing moment when you get there, I assure you. Love your kids, love your Family, love you life….but life it please 🙂
I do that too, but I try to catch myself. I need to be with my kids when I’m with my kids, it seems simple enough… But in the end, it’s about a bigger issue of being present in the moment. It’s about awareness.
Hey, nobody’s perfect, not even me. The most we can do is try our best.