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‘We get your leftovers’

Do you struggle to make the transition from work to home? I certainly have on occasion. At work, my calendar is full and the authority lines are clear. At home, Karen and I share many responsibilities. I deal with multiple unscheduled demands on my time.   I’ve been fortunate that when …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Do you struggle to make the transition from work to home? I certainly have on occasion. At work, my calendar is full and the authority lines are clear. At home, Karen and I share many responsibilities. I deal with multiple unscheduled demands on my time.
 
I’ve been fortunate that when work has been demanding, she’s cut me slack. Finding balance has not always been easy.
 
When guys get together and share their stories about how they’re doing as husbands, you’ll sometime hear them say that at a certain point their wife has leveled with them and said: “Honey, I’m happy for your success at work. But when you get home, we get the leftovers.”
 
What a sad thing to have said about you. You think that your report card is bringing home the bacon. The pressure at work requires all your energy. And then your spouse hands you another report card that tells you you’re flunking.
 
I’m guessing that expectations have changed over the last fifty years or so. I’ll bet we’ve made an improvement over a few generations ago when most people did some kind of manual labor.
 
For example, imagine spending all day tilling the earth out in the fields or slaving away in the dank darkness of a coal mine, doing the same thing over and over on a manufacturing line. I doubt that guys doing that kind of work had much left over for their wives or kids. Have we come to expect too much of our breadwinners?
 
Surely there’s a balance. Working mothers do it, why can’t guys? The good news is, a lot of guys are working at finding a balance. They may not have been trained for their role, but they want to do the right thing.
 
If you’re the breadwinner for your family, how are you doing at balancing their need for you to be emotionally engaged with the demands of your job?

Comments (5)

  • Here’s my take…

    1. If work gets the leftovers…then I will end up having to get another job. No employer worth his salt will put up w/ that for very long.

    2. One must also include ministry in this picture. I know that my primary ministry needs to be to my wife and kids but far too many are using this as an excuse for not serving in their local church. My kids need to see me sacrifice time/money/energy for the advancement of the kingdom in the institution that Jesus established.

    3. We need to prioritize and establish what is truly important. Just b/c I make every ball game or school activity doesn’t make me a good dad. It only makes my kids think that their stuff is what is most important.

    4.Balance is over-rated. It’s a nice idea in theory but I don’t think I have ever seen it work in practice. I think instead we should be striving to live in the moment w/ eternity in view. When I am at work, work gets my full attention. When I am at home I give my full attention to my family…NOT THE TV.

    Sorry for the novella

    Wes

  • @Wes. Great points! My work gets my leftovers cuz I’m the boss and there are good people carrying my water. Most people don’t have that blessing. That being said, I’m just learning how to be a good father and good husband. You’re right about just showing up a games. As dads, we need to learn how to love our families, not just give them time or stuff. For my 6 year old daughter, that means laying in bed reading book after book. But for my wife, it means helping her at home, washing dishes, driving kids to their various things and actually listening to her about her day.

  • Funnily enough my hubby and I have had the “leftovers” chat twice…. once several years ago when It was me talking to him, and now the other way round with him talking to me.

    However after we discussed it and had come up with an action plan we got to chatting about “the chat” itself. We were not saying stuff to each other because we felt lonely or left out (although that may be part of it) but when we prioritise work over family then we turn our back on all the benefits that our families can give to us!!!

    We now both have a fixed schedule of “us” time where we take all thoughts of work, box them up and put them away and are free to truly relish the safety and happiness of our shared relationship.

    As a result, we are both stronger and better able to face the rigours of our work.
    God brought me and my hubby together because together we are stronger than we are apart. I guess we all need to be reminded of that now and then

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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