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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 wo…
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?

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