By Author Tom Watson for GalTime.com
Advocate Reveals Ways to Be A Better Father in Trying Times
Tom Watson knows what it's like not to have time to spend with his family.
"My wife and my sons would ask me to come and spend time with them and I would often use the line 'We'll see' or 'Maybe later' as a way of answering them and then I would head to my office to carry on with my work. I felt that if I could just get ahead on my work, I could get out and spend time with my wife and play with my kids. The problem was that work just kept building and so did the pressure to provide for my family. I would rarely find the time to be there for them.
"Then one day my boys and I were having lunch together and my oldest son Brad asked me if I'd join them outside after lunch for a game of street hockey. I answered him as I had grown accustomed with, 'We'll see.' I finished my lunch and headed to my home office to get back to work when I realized I had left my cell phone on the kitchen counter. I was on my way back to the kitchen to retrieve my phone when I ran upon a conversation between my boys that stopped me dead in my tracks. My middle son, Kelly, was talking to Brad and his words thundered in my ears. 'Brad! Dad's not coming out. He always says 'we'll see' and he never comes and plays. He's too busy and he's no fun anymore.'
"As I stood there frozen in the hallway, it was like a knife had pierced my heart. There I was, working hard to build my business trying to provide for my family, thinking I was doing the right thing. What I realized in that moment was that I was losing touch with my family! I wasn't the husband or the father I had been to my family in the past. I had become obsessed with trying to build a company to pay the bills and I was foregoing family time to make that happen. What I realized in that instance was that my sons didn't care about my work - they just wanted their dad to be there for them like he used to be. They wanted some of my time - they needed my time and so did my wife!
"With the economy as tight as it is, I know that I'm not the only father who has or is struggling to balance work life with personal life. These days, many fathers are either unemployed and working hard to find work or they are working multiple jobs in a global workplace just to make ends meet. Because of this, family time is limited and I often believe men just aren't in the mood for family because they are despondent or feeling helpless as a provider."
But, it doesn't have to be that way, according to Watson, author of the autobiographical Man Shoes: The Journey to Becoming a Better Man, Husband & Father . Watson's tips for dads in a tough economy include: