It’s easy to second guess yourself when you decide to leave the regular 9-5 behind. Here’s why you’ve made the right choice.
I’m not sure when I realised that several people in our social circle were properly rich. My cousin told me he knew it when he picked up his son from a playdate and the little boy came down from his friend’s bedroom in a lift.
Of course, here at Working Dads we want you to be financially successful (see job ads above for more inspiration!), but something I’ve been trying to learn over the past few years is that envy is a cul-de-sac and everything comes – literally – at a price. According to an American survey, more than one in ten men are jealous of other men who earn more. I once went to a therapist and after 45 minutes of me going on and on about my problems, she asked me whether I judged all of my achievements against other people. She quite rightly explained that there will always be someone who you perceive has it better than you, so what’s the point of worrying about it?
She’s correct of course, but it’s hard advice to follow, particularly when you’re trying to forge a new path in your life and career. I’m a freelance writer and teacher and as such I will likely never be on the big bucks (although fingers crossed for that book I might one day actually write, eh?) My wife works part-time and earns a little less than the national average wage.
There can be a lot of pressure on men to feel like they should be the breadwinner, the person providing for their family, even if that can be because of outmoded gender norms. But what that doesn’t take into account is what you lose if you follow that path.
My friends who became management consultants, or Big Four accountants, or ‘some kind of financial/IT thing’ clearly earn more. They have bigger houses, posher cars and go on swankier holidays. Despite being good men and fathers, they also spend significantly less time with their children than I do. They see them on the weekends, but they’re almost always back too late for bedtimes and will leave before the house rises.
I got to take both of my daughters to school on their first day in reception. I was able to take my trumpet into class and do a music session for them. I got to watch my youngest walk across a balance beam on her own when she was initially terrified to go into the gymnasium.
Sometimes I worry they’ll be disappointed we only go camping in Norfolk and not to a posh resort in the Canaries. Other times I feel like they would benefit from a bigger house.
But then I remember what I would have missed if I had been that person. The things I wouldn’t have seen, the events I wouldn’t have attended. The connection with them that I wouldn’t have if they only saw me at the weekend and the anxiety subsides.
Now, let’s get on with that novel…