The Moment I Realized I Was A Part-Time Dad

parttimedadWhat’s a part time Dad?

Seriously, what does that really mean? It’s simple. You’re either a dad or you’re not. You either father your children or don’t father them. You can’t be a “half” father. I honestly didn’t think such a term existed. Fatherhood takes on many faces, many looks.

Some dads live with their kids, others don’t. Some dads work a 9 to 5 job, but others are stay at home dads. Then you have the dad that works abroad away from his family because that may be the only means of providing for them.

I can’t come to a conclusion that one situation is more ideal than another. Its all relative. Dads are dads and the fruit of their fatherhood will shine through in-spite of, well, whatever the situation may be.

So no, you are not a part-time dad because you don’t live with your kids, or if you only see them a couple of times a year because of distance.

That being said, I am a part-time dad (you knew this plot twist was coming right?).

It’s strange though. I never thought I was. I always saw myself as an amazing dad. I’d be there for my kids whenever they needed me. Teaching them the true principles of life, as a good father should.

Even though I worked a 9 to 5 job, I never once saw myself as a part-time dad.

Doing movie nights on Friday’s and making breakfast Saturday morning (pancakes and bacon of course). Telling stories before bed, and waking up to serve the all too familiar “glass of water” request at midnight.

Even though I worked a 9 to 5 job, I never once before saw myself as a part-time dad.

That is until my trip to Chicago over the Summer.

A typical working dad will probably spend on average daily 1 hour in the morning with his kids (barely) and roughly 3 hours in the evening after work. So thats 4 total hours daily and 20 for the week.

Weekends are about 14 hours for each day, give or take a couple hours here and there.

parttimedad2On my Summer road trip to Chicago, I spent the better part of 4 straight days with my kids.

It was hard. Very hard.

But it didn’t begin that way. As with every road trip, the excitement and anticipation seem to overtake the the trip itself.  I couldn’t wait to get away for a few days with the ‘fam’ and explore one of North America’s largest cities.

Why were these kids so annoying with every little thing they did?

Everything was going amazing, that is until “regular life” snuck up and took over our trip. The crying, the screams, diaper changes, feeding, changing clothes, baths, answering questions, breaking up fights – all things that turn the wonder and awe of a vacation into mad house.

This was new to me.

I didn’t know how to handle hours and hours and hours of “regular life” with kids (I know that sounds strange, but follow me here and keep reading). I knew how to handle 14 hours on a Saturday with small breaks in between or 3 hours on a Monday evening, but 56 hours straight???????!!!!!!

This wasn’t my forte. But why wasn’t it? Why were these kids so annoying with every little thing they did? I wanted to be understanding because they were my kids. I wanted to understand my wife who kept saying to me, “This is how it is in the daytime.” I wanted to be understanding, but I still hated that statement with a passion.

But it was the truth, like she read it straight out of The Bible. “This is how it is.” And up to this point I was oblivious to it.

It’s strange how it happened, but I’m glad it did. This trip showed me how much of a part time dad I had been and revealed to me that I lacked a lot of what it takes to truly be an exceptional parent. Although some might say the fact that I realize it now already makes me one.

Do you ever feel like a part-time dad?

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Comments (46)

  • I consider being a dad a real job that requires endless skills.

  • Being a parent is a non stop job!

  • I’m a mom of three and I love that you are willing to admit this all. I hope that this can give you more appreciation for what your wife does all week.

  • I think part of being a good father is being a good role model. Even if you have to work and don’t get to spend as much time with your kids as you would like, they will see that you are a hard worker. Whether a parent works in or out of the home, their kids will love them just the same as long as they are there for them when they need them to be.

    Lori Humphrey
  • So raw and honest. Thank you for sharing!!!!

  • This was great to read and so true. I’ve been a mom for over 10 years, but I mostly have always worked. Less hours than my husbad, but still. I have dealt with all the fussiness and everything, but not as consistently as when I became a stay at home mom last year. There are days when I definitely wish to go back to work, but really I’m actually dreading the day I will have to go back to work. I love it. Yes, some days are challenges and no matter which outfit you pick for them, they are still going to scream. Even if I give them the red or green plate, they are still going to fuss about something. My older 2 may be asleep but my baby will think it’s play time at 2 am. I may get only 2 hours of sleep but I will still have to get up with the kids, cook, clean and do laundry, etc. It’s a challenge and most people don’t see all the energy it takes to raise children because we work half the day. My husband even says same stuff as you and when he has to watch our 3 kids for more than an hour or 2, on his own, he gets frustrated sometimes because he’s never around for all of this. His routine is breakfast, then dinner and baths and bed with the kids. It’s really eye opening to read something like this and I think all parents could benefit from reading this, as we all experience it.

  • All fathers should read this post.
  • great post thank you for sharing

    Margo b
  • Good post.

  • Being a parent is no stop…no breaks unfortunately sometimes.

  • Loving your honesty here. Being a parent definitely has it’s challenges and anyone doing it 24 hours a day 7 days a week has a tremendously huge job. I was a stay at home mom for the most part and loved it, and it definitely is a huge change from working full time job out in the public with adults. I love that you had a holiday with your kids and you will do it again and it will create wonderful memories for you all.

    Debbie S.
  • There is no part time parent. A parent’s a parent 24/7.

  • I think part of being a good father is being a good role model. Even if you have to work and don’t get to spend as much time with your kids as you would like, they will see that you are a hard worker.

  • I’m a mom but my husband is a fantastic full-time dad and I am proud of him.

    Monica Nuss
  • Parents are 24/7 not partime!

    Nancy Burgess
  • I am a stay at home dad. My fiancee and I both stay home actually. I am a disabled veteran and we both go to school full time. She is 1 semester from finishing her bachelors degree in psychology and I am 3 semesters from finishing my bachelors in computer programming. We have 3 kids, I go to school during the day while they are at school then she goes to class at night. We live on grants and my disability and the VA takes care of me and pays me to go to school. It is very hard being a full-time parent. However we both love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is also harder for us since one of our children is disabled and can’t feed himself, bathe himself, dress or anything. So he totally depends on us for everything. Then we have a 1 year old and a 10 year old. It is a handful but a loving experience.

    Jeff Toplak
  • Interesting

    Amberly Gordon
  • I’m a stay at home mom but my husband is a working group full time dad

    Lynn Fields
  • Most of my life as a parent, I have been a single mom.It is not easy but I loved it. My kids are my joy. They are all adults now ,one has passed away, two went to college and have families of their own,and the other two are working a nd doing well. I would never go back and change a thing. They are all great.

  • Agreed! It takes time and effort to be a good father.

  • Amen Tracy!

  • Thanks Sarah. Yes I love my wife and fully appreciate what she does. She is amazing! She juggles being a mom with homeschooling and running her own successful business.

  • Thanks Lori. You just described my own father. Hardest worker you’ll see but always had time for me and my brothers and sister. He was an amazing role model.

  • Thank you!! It’s not always easy.

  • Thanks Ashley for your feedback! Being a parent should be described as a beautiful mess! 🙂

  • Wow thanks Jennifer!! I’m humbled.

  • Thanks Margo!

  • Thanks Sharianne.

  • 100% agree Shaylee

  • Agreed! Parents are parents 24/7. Your job never ends.
  • My husband is going blind and a full time stay at home dad and house man. He is amazing and I am blessed to have his help every day. Being a parent regardless of age is a hard job.

  • Thanks Debbie. Some of the best memories are going in road trips. Even then we can’t let our parenting guard down.

  • Amen Kelsey. Good parents are involved whether they are physically present or not

  • i feel like i;m both my husband maybe changed their diapers atleast 5 times showered them 2 he gets frustraded when they are loud and doesnt spend that much time with them so yes i’m mom/dad very frustrating that you have a spouse for nothing lol but they love him lots unfair!!! i know it’s daddy but common i have to deal with messes crying and lots of other things and he just hugs and kisses and done lol
  • Thanks for sharing your experience; I think a lot of us moms can relate to the experience of having ‘part time fathers’ around! I wish all of them could experience what you did 😉

  • If u have one kid or more they are a handful so embrace yourself

  • Thanks for sharing

    Jennifer Lo
  • Amen Beverly.

  • Thanks Monica! Need more moms to voice that type of opinion about us dads.

  • I was a stay at home mom and my husband work full time, but I never saw him as a part time dad. He was very involve with the children.

    Carole Dube
  • One of the reason it sucks being a full-time worker. All the time you miss out with your kids. But what can you do! Have to pay the bills.

  • Thanks for sharing. I don’t think this is uncommon. Unfortunately I think women are often handed the brunt of things to deal with and fun stuff is Dad’s domain.

  • So many mothers are left with the task of fufilling the father’s duties… It makes sense that they would feel they are doing this part-time

  • Same thing with me! I work full-time and when I’m home all day, it’s amazing the difference in the day and attitudes!
  • Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, whether it’s full time or part time. It comes with so many challenges, no vacation or sick time, but is so rewarding!

    Rushell Tuggle
  • I can relate on this post. I am basically the one who put so much care and attention to our baby 24/7 and my husband works overtime to get paid more and support us. Being a mom or dad are both hard professions in life. I can say that my husband is a part-time dad but he also do some overtime dad duties too to make it up for his daughter.

    Ana Aquino

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