The past two and a half months were particularly busy for me. I am coming to the end of another season of working overtime. For the second time in the past two years, I am working 55-60 hours a week.
But I’m not complaining. Working overtime is pretty common. Whether it’s because of a busy season, or layoffs, or there’s just too much to be done, half of American workers put in more than 50 hours a week.
Some men see their purpose solely as working. They take pride in working overtime. They remember that after God made man, He “put him in the Garden of Eden to work it” (Genesis 2:15). But they forget that the same God who made us to work also said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
So many men isolate themselves from their families by working too much. It’s important to work hard. And sometimes it’s even necessary to work overtime. But no matter how much you work, it’s still important to be a good dad. We mustn’t get so caught up providing for our families that we forget to be present for them.
Here are the steps I’m taking to still be a good dad – even while working overtime:
Explain the Situation
My family is used to me being home in the evenings. But now I’m gone almost every night! So I talked to our kids about our finances. I explained why we need the extra money. And I told them it would only be this way a few months. Understanding the situation helps them cope with me working so much.
See Them When You Can
I spend as much time with my family as I can get. I’m home in the morning when our kids wake up. And I come home between jobs for at least an hour to change and eat dinner. That also gives me a little time to play, read, or watch TV. It isn’t a lot, but it’s all I can do. And my family knows that when I’m home, my time belongs to them.
Take off When It Matters
Working overtime doesn’t mean you can’t take time off when you need it. I’ve taken days off here and there to attend our kids’ events at church and school. If they played sports, I would take off for their games too. Attending events like this shows your family that although you’re working overtime, you still want to be with them.
Make It Up to Them
Working overtime isn’t just hard on us; it’s hard on our families too! So make it up to them whenever you get the chance. Take a full day off every week to spend with them. Take them out a little more than usual. Maybe even plan a vacation. After all, why work so much if you can’t enjoy the extra money?
Make Sure It’s Temporary
The most important thing is to not become a workaholic. You don’t want to drive your family away from working too much for too long. So establish a finish line. Cut back when the busy season ends. If there’s no end in sight, maybe it’s time to consider making drastic changes, like downgrading to an affordable lifestyle or even finding a new job.
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