Time Isn’t On My Side

Ben is more than 6 months old now. So why do I feel like I still don’t know him as well as I’d like, his moods, his habits, his favorite toys? Do other working dads feel the same guilt I have? This morning I was able to get 15 minutes alone with him in our bed and it felt like 15 days. He was smiling and cooing and bouncing. And then it was over.

I rush into the shower while my wife jumps out, Julia whines about getting dressed until we finally wrestle her clothes on, my wife gets both of them into the kitchen while I get dressed, Julia eats her breakfast while my wife feeds Ben his, and then I’m gone. By the time I get home tonight, probably around 7, Ben will be asleep or just about asleep and my time will focus on Julia. I hate this routine even though I know it’s just life. Five days a week, I get maybe a total of three to five hours with my son. The ironic thing is that the best day is the most chaotic day — Monday.

My wife leaves early, like 7:30, so for half an hour I have both kids. I usually get to feed Ben, which is the highlight of my day as I spoon peaches and apples into his mouth. And then I walk Julia to school, sometimes holding hands, other times up on my shoulders. Only on the weekends do I get any quality time with Ben. I keep thinking I should relax in the morning, go in to work half an hour later, but it never happens. Anybody else out there wrestling with this?

Doug Most is a dad, a husband, a runner, and a writer and he does them all in Boston, where he is also the editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

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