Do You Want a Job or a Family Because You Can’t Have Both!

Article by Wendy McCance

When I was growing up, most families looked like this, there was a father who worked and a mother who stayed home with the kids.  In our home, my father traveled for work and was gone more weeks out of the year than home.  My mother worked as a substitute teacher part-time.

I envied the other kids.  The ones who had a father who seemed to only work 9-5 pm and was home every evening and on weekends.  I envied the kids whose mother never worked at all.  They never came home to a babysitter ( especially some of the rotten babysitters we had growing up).

These days, both parents work because they have to.  Jobs demand long hours and devotion to the company.  Forget about the family because your boss will make you choose, is it us or them?

Kids these days sit in empty homes, do homework and make dinner without an adult around and sometimes even put themselves to bed at night.  It is a sad state where we have landed as families.

I was repulsed by the amount of heartbroken souls that worked at the car plant with me. Many marriages had fallen apart.  Many kids had little knowledge of who their parent were.  These were people who were desperate to create a good life for their families.  They worked hard and dealt with the long hours and endless overtime.  They paid for their loyalty to their job with the loss of their family.  These lost souls would move around the plant as if a zombie.  They were physically present, but they were completely numb.  They couldn’t feel anymore.

Many of these people had heart attacks and died when retirement was near.  I think they died of a broken heart.  They would panic because they had no idea how to live outside of the plant.  The plant had become their one and only home since they had lost their family.

My husband began a job a year ago that held promises of a good future and light travel.  The year he joined the company, travel was a few weekends a year and maybe one solid week.  Well, guess what?  Business is booming and all of the workers are being sent to outside locations for weeks and sometimes months at a time.  My husband has spent at least half of the last 4 months away from home.  Each time he comes back, I feel a little more sense of a loss.  We are slowly pulling apart and it frightens me.

I know that many people work long hours, travel and spend more time with their company than their family.  I was one of those people, I lived it.  It broke my heart to decide if I wanted money for my family or time with my family.  I felt like I had sold my soul to the devil each time I picked money over family.  I had no choice, I had to provide for them.

My husband has no choice right now either.  It is a devestating feeling and one most people are facing every day.

I feel lucky to have been able to carve out a job at home.  I work my butt off so that I can support the family and hopefully give my husband the opportunity to find a better job that doesn’t require constant travel.

If I knew before I had a family what I do now, I would have started working from home right after graduation.   I am not adverse to working, hell I think it keeps us sane.  It gives a purpose, goals and a sense of pride.  I just don’t want to pick between time with my family or time at the office.  I don’t want a boss breathing down my neck telling me I need to devote more time to the job.  It just makes me sick that our time is taken up by nurturing a job instead of the ones we love.

What does this mean for the next generation?  How will they manage to raise a family? Will more people decide to forego the family because there isn’t time?  What about friends? How many people view their best friends as those they work with?  How many relationships come from the work place?

If you spend all of your time at a job, it just makes sense that you would form a small family there too.  It’s comfort.  When I worked in the plant, I met my husband.  We made good friends.  We had family events like bbq’s right in the plant on days when there was overtime.  We carved out a family and created close relationships.  We lost friends and family on the outside of those factory walls a little at a time, more as the years went by. We were seldom not working, and when we weren’t working we were taking care of our family or trying to catch up on some much needed sleep.

It is a strange feeling knowing that bonds are created over a common understanding.  A way of feeling that no one on the outside of a company’s walls would understand.  Yet, when our factory closed, we let those close friendships slip away.  Hell, I think we ran away from them.  We felt half-insane closed up in that plant.  I think we needed to get away from the people we had gotten close to just so our memories of  that time in are life could fade more quickly.  It was a painful time and the fewer reminders of life in the plant, the better.

What are family’s like today?  Do kids get the same type of attention they did back when we were kids?  Does life in today’s world make it to difficult to have a job and a family?  I feel like we have lost the dream.  That dream of growing up, getting married, buying a home, raising a family and retiring at a nice ripe age of 65.  I don’t think a lot of kids today will be able to have a job and family when they grow up..  I don’t think kids these days will be able to afford a house let alone afford to ever retire.  It’s scary, but the future looks like all work, no play and lost connections.

What do you think?  Does the future look promising to you?  Do you see a pattern of the dreams of our youth unraveling?  What will the future hold for our kids?  Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.



About wmccance

Freelance writer and social media consultant. learn more at:
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7 Responses to Do You Want a Job or a Family Because You Can’t Have Both!

  1. Wendy, this is one of my favorite posts from you, and I agree wholeheartedly. When I was a small child, my father, too, was never around because he was constantly traveling, busting his butt to provide a better life for his family. I know he did what he thought was right, but for all his hard work, in my opinion, it cost him (and his family) way more than any of it was worth. He wasn’t there when I needed him the most, and it’s something that neither of us can ever get back.

    The saddest thing is, to a much lesser degree, I was the same way when my older sons were little. I still struggle with trying to repair both those relationships and the hurt but, again, there are some things you simply cannot go back and fix. There will always be some scars that will never heal. Thank God I eventually learned this lesson and, as my wife just said, finally realized what’s REALLY important. Life is honestly too short to waste a minute.

    • wmccance says:

      I agree. It breaks my heart when a parent knows what is important and wants to be with their family more but can’t because they need the income. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of jobs out there making it easier to just go to a different job. Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. joshuaanandaclayton says:

    You’re right.

  3. Wonderful post Wendy!

    I must say, growing up in my situation was very rare. My father retired from the Air Force when I was very young, so mom and dad were home for me every day. I got to travel all over the country and see things a lot of my friends will never see.

    Today, my husband and I sacrifice everything for me to be able to stay home. I am so very grateful for this, but at times we struggle. So many parents these days feel like they HAVE to put their jobs first. Take my sister and her husband for instance. They both work hectic, full time jobs. They have two young sons about the same age as mine. My nephews come home to an empty house, fend for themselves until my sister gets home, then run like crazy the rest of the night.

    However, they own two houses, one they rent out, and another monster house they’ve lived in for over a year and still don’t have decorated! Their cars are new, my sister has more clothes and shoes than I can possibly count, and they spend money like crazy. Do they have it? No, they have credit card debt out the rear end! But boy that brand new furniture they don’t have time to sit on sure is nice.

    My husband and I have a modest home, older cars, fewer clothes and no credit card debt. We have chosen to put our family first instead of having material things. I know many, many people don’t even have the option to do that. With the economy the way that it is and people making less and less money, it’s hard.

    Could I go back to work and put my children last? Of course I could. I can wake them up at 5:30 a.m., rush them to a child care provider, work all day, pick them up from the same child care provider, rush home, throw some McDonald’s at them, fight over homework and collapse in bed to do it all over again. Mind you, the before and after child care takes half of my paycheck. Gasoline, lunches, new clothes, trendy shoes, etc…. eat the rest of my check!

    No thank you! I’ll keep my old worn out sweat pants that have a hole in the butt, do my own hair and nails, and snuggle up on my five year old sofa with two little happy guys bundled up beside my husband and I, watch a $1.00 rented movie from the Red Box, and relax after an awesome homemade dinner!!!

    • wmccance says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Some people get so wrapped up in what they think society demands of them that they lose their inner feelings of what would make them truly happy. It’s sad that their are labels out there that dictate what success is supposed to look like. I think success sounds more like what you have been able to achieve for your family personally. Kids only grow up once and you will never get that back. Good for you for doing what felt right for you. Your kids will always have some fabulous family memories because of it.

  4. padon49 says:

    Reblogged this on PADON49s' BLOGSITE and commented:
    Very interesting article

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