this is the bit I had to chop b/c there’s a 4300 limit

it kills me to give up the tickets for tonight. it really does, but after thinking about it for the past 4 hours, I’ve realized something important : I’ve been an ass for the past two months.

Hockey, Trilug, Work, and squeeze in some time with Renee and the kids.

Waitasec, I say to myself, that’s bullshit. Hockey is a luxury. TriLUG is a side project. You work to live, not live to work (and that’s an issue all by itself). So why am I spending all my time on that stuff? Why is Ray so excitable and stuff when I’m home?

‘Cause I’m home less and less, and even when I am home, I’m so busy trying to do everything else that needs doing, I’m not paying any attention to him. So he behaves badly, and gets the only attention he can.

I suck. I’ve been a horrid parent, I’ve been a bad husband, and I’ve been so-so at everything else. Renee will forgive me. I already asked her to. Dad understands, and I just made one of his co-workers really happy. Ray will be happy – he gets to spend more time with Daddy. I can’t make up for the past few months in one night, but I can try to spend more time with him from now on.

But if I’m doing the right thing – why do I feel so bad? Is it because I’m not gonna forgive myself for a long time? Or because I placed too much importance on the game tonight, and now, the fact that I’m giving it up, really, really hurts? or both?

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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2 Responses to this is the bit I had to chop b/c there’s a 4300 limit

  1. flavor says:

    when things that are important pull in opposite ways, the tearing effect on the middle can be horrific, even outside of the physics sense. I know the counselor approach would be to try and keep a balance among things and when possible, do more than one at a time (family hockey night, even if Ray/Renee doesn’t like hockey, does get them more time with you while keeping you happier since you get to be at the game). Trying to live the separate and mutually exclusive lives of “Kevin” and “Dad” can be painful, and while attempts to merge them can also take considerable effort, I’d imagine (grain of salt) that it makes you a better husband/father because you’re not having to decide between yourself and your family.

    If being the better father/husband makes your quality of life suffer as a result, you’ll resent it, and eventually them, for what your life has become. It’s not necessarily fair to anyone in particular, especially not you, but it’ll happen. Your past accomplishments (largely deservingly) give you the self-confidence to believe you can be all things to all people, and although through no fault of your own, the hour limits of the day will in the long run prevent that. Playing Superman in so many roles for so long can make it painful and induce feelings of guilt when/if you put your own desires (Go Canes!) “over” that of the family, and that kind of “pick one and only one” situation does noone any good.

    I’m not sure if more time working at home is still feasible, but don’t get too caught up if your productivity level at home isn’t 100% of what it would be at work – you’re getting multiple things (time with family) accomplished at once. Even just being in the house means something. If Ray (and/or Renee’s) behavior has your “home productivity to work productivity” ratio below say 80%, try working with them on ways to set up some rules so your productivity can still be fairly high and they can still get some “Dad time”. This can mean access times restricted to like the top of every even hour or scheduled “family break” times throughout the day, but you’ve got to make it clear to them that you’re putting in more effort to be there for them, and they need to put in just as much effort into making sure you can still work effectively from home. Let them know that if they fail in that regards and take too much time/attention of yours while you’re on the “work clock”, it’s more time spent you’ll be forced to spend at work where they’ll have lost all of that access. It then becomes their job to help you do your job well. When they do that job well (supporting you, giving you time and distance to get your job done, leave you alone) then just like any good manager you’ll need to make sure to reward them (and no, not necessarily with a family hockey night or whatever unless everyone truly loves that :) for their good efforts. Make sure these rewards are something they actually enjoy on a personal level, not just a “i’m being a good dad” thing. Get that positive feedback going and the transition should go smoother (more of the positive feedback would be needed initially during the “migration”, of course).

    Take everything here with a huge grain of salt. I’ve had fears of very similar kinds of things happening to me with my future fatherhood in a couple years and these are the kinds of thoughts I’ve had in trying to make that life as much of a “win-win situation” for all involved. If you’re being torn apart and the things in your life are spreading you too thin, it’s not just your problem, it’s your entire family’s problem. Equally, the solution(s) should also be from and for the entire family. Make the whole “Dad still needs to be a good worker and enjoy his hobbies” thing into a family goal and ask for their suggestions. The more they feel they’re involved in the solution, the less they’ll resent any of its implications (like Renee not using you as much during “business hours” or Ray waiting til “break time” to come see you about something).

  2. flavor says:

    Ok, enough babbling. For however this works out and whatever does and doesn’t work for you on these fronts, please be as open and honest about it as possible (which you’ve been excellent about so far, of course) in your journal. I can’t get across just how incredibly important, informative, and helpful learning all this, even vicariously, is for me and I’m sure at least a couple others.

    Good luck, Kevin! :)

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