Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tough at the top?

So I actually got around to writing a 2nd blog...WOW!!!
It’s at times like these (stuck in another hotel room, away from my “family tree”) when of course your life is thrown into a state of “what the hell is the point of all this traveling”
We live in a digitally connected world where I guess, we could chat and discuss over the ether and never need to travel the 3,000 miles to visit one of my many clients…
That would be fine if in reality, clients really accepted and adopted this behavior. When your growing a business and you have to convince the other people that you are a genuine chap that can function properly, then those 6,000 mile round trips are necessary, then if you try and pull the “let’s just do a video conference” stint, you get the feeling that you’re not really interested anymore in meeting them face to face and lo-and behold you’ve lost that client!!

Working with technology, means that the most important people in my life, my family, are but a call, email, txt or Skype (if I had a camera in my crappy PC (note not Mac!)) away which is comforting to know that I can reach them at any time and vice versa, but it’s not really the same!
I can’t complain, I have a job, it pays OK (who couldn’t do with a pay rise?) and the benefits are…well if we ever figured out the numerous health, dental, breathing benefits I’m sure they’re good as well!

Being away is hard, it’s not glamorous or full of drinks or non-stop entertaining (I don’t work in media!) so my hotel room and iPhone are my sole companions, room for sleep and writing blog posts, iPhone for… well everything else – but most importantly my music!! Knowing that my lovely lady wife is back home wrestling with the 3 little Ds, from homework, dinner, bedtime, referee… is both comforting and also makes me yearn more, as I never feel that I get to spend that amount of quality time with them – which makes you think, how well do my children really know me?
My eldest asked the other day, “is what I do (for work) hard?” Hard in an eight year olds mind will be like comparing that to math, or homework or some kind of new learning, while the hard part is leaving them behind for a few days, not seeing them before bed, or waking them up from their deep slumber in the morning, and only seeing my son’s little white bum sticking out from under his comforter!! That is the hard part of work, telling people that what they have is shit, or they should hire my team to help them – is quite frankly easy, I can turn up (like today) after others have cobbled together a set of the dreaded PowerPoint slides (that they probably sweated over) only for the customer to ignore all of it, and ask me for my viewpoint or opinion on their issue – you can’t have slides for something like that, so it’s all off the cuff, from my knowledge bank of stuff that I do… but can they deliver up my family, can they let me kiss my wife or children before bed? No they can’t – so in the grand scheme of life, it’s not really important. It’s all about money and how many dollars someone is spending, saving or wasting – money won’t bring back those missed evenings as the sun sets, or bed time story readings, or missing some of my youngest defining moments as she morphs quickly from a stumbling toddler into a confident child.

However, before I go on with the woe is me thing, I’m very glad that I have a job, that stimulates me and gives me some exciting things to work on, I can put food on the table and cloth my family – I guess what I’m saying is that my life is so much richer with them in my life, that it’s that richness that will make me a better person, and not being there is one of life’s challenges that I’m sure parents the world over face – just as all the stay at home mum’s & dad’s (of which I admire greatly and are a very under estimated demographic) feel the opposite, that there must be something outside of the same routine of school, dinner, baths & bed time cycles as well as speaking to children all day long… I guess while frustrating and at times claustrophobic, at least the process and interactions are all genuine, compared to the token “how’s the family” – they don’t really care, it’s just an acknowledgment and affirmation that I’ve just left the 4 most important people in my life 3,000 miles away while we talk shit for the next 3 days that in the grand scheme of things isn’t really going to change the world for the better, but in my world if my beautiful wife and tiny D go off and make a Mother’s Day card at the ‘Library/Book shop’ then, in my world, that’s an achievement that my daughter is learning to create and be creative, while my wife is coaching and helping her create something, that when I get back home will be a major achievement and masterpiece in her eyes that she wants to show with, and share with me…

So as the title suggests, for both the working dad and the stay at home mum – it’s tough at the top, and even tougher if you’ve not reached there yet. I’m so thankful and grateful for what I have (ignore the last 900 odd words) so proud of my family, and my of my wife for how she has raised and been the ‘lone’ parent as fly around this big old country of ours – and after a recent shock death of a good friend, at least my wife and children have a husband and dad coming back, a bit tired, but at least back, back in the family tree…

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

21st Century Daddy'ness

So following in my wife's footsteps, but also having a break from being a professional consultant and having to write based on what I do or feel I need to comment on.
So here I'll try and talk about the funny and frustrating anecdotes of being a father of three, husband of one on our journey through American life and how that compares to 30+ years living in the UK.

One of the saddest stats I've
read is that the modern working dad only spends on average 24mins a day with their kids!! What a shocking stat, how can any working dad possibly spend that much time with people who don't want you to whiteboard up ideas, go for coffee or care about the actual margin that your current project is pulling!!

So how do these small, perfectly proportioned wee humans respond when daddy comes home from work, am I embraced and handed immediately with hot fresh coffee, freshly lit camel smoke, and comfy warm slippers - to aid me in my repatriation back to family life?
Hell no!!!!
I get a barrage of questions, that my wife, (whom by this time has found both sanity & solace in the ice cold tonic of a white wine), can no longer respond, react or care to answer as soon as that front door opens, all bets are off and the onus is now firmly with moi!
So after answering (or nodding in an interested way) questions, reviewing the artistic prowess of the girls, and the Wii achievements or the Star Wars episode breakdown, I stop to fondle and caress the iPad to sound in unison of....

"What you doing daaaaaady?"

....to be continued (maybe!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad