Submitted by This Irreverent Papa (@IrreverantPapa)
I turned 30 when my wife was six months pregnant, and now our son is just over a month old. I am lucky enough to work for a company that provides four weeks of paid leave for fathers, but now that it's just about over, the thought of being back at work has me grunting with disgust.
I'm a rather excellent employee - if I do say so myself. But hell, I'm a millennial and the most important thing in my life is the stretch of hours from 5pm-8am and any vacation time I can swindle with my family in the fairly modest, yet perfect, 1,500 square feet of house we own. Work is my priority when I'm there, sure, but you're never going to see me staying in the office past 5:00 pm unless I have to. That's what laptops are for. I don't mind working from home, as long as I'm home.
I felt that way BEFORE we had a child, and now that we have a perfect little human with all of his faces and noises and adorable bodily functions, that feeling has grown exponentially. How am I going to spend 9 hours a day away from all this wonder that I've built? If I had the choice, I would stay home with my wife and son and write fiction for a couple hours a day ... and that's it.
But we don't have that choice, do we? The bacon must be brought, the bread must be won.
I hold a fairly low-level marketing position at my company, and while I know I am privileged by the job and salary, I know (because math) that I don't make enough to cover the mortgage and expenses in full without dipping into savings a little every month and accepting a little credit card debt chaser: the delicate balance of capitalism. So I have some rapid growth to do and I need to do it yesterday.
It's pressure and expectation and anxiety that I really don't want. What I want is to revel in my new life as a father, but that just isn't a possibility. All of this reality has come crashing back at me in larger and larger waves every day for the last week as Monday looms. Working Parent Stories wanted me to talk about how I'm feeling as I wrap up my parental leave, and the short answer is this: dismally.
Alright, but I'm really not that defeatist. I may sigh and complain, but actually, I'm strong as hell and I'm going to push, and I'm going to grow, and I'm going to be home at 5:20 p.m. to give my son more kisses than he can handle.