One of my least favorite things about Alycia’s pregnancy was the inane advice people gave us. Some of the advice was great, but some of it just left me baffled. I couldn’t understand the people who would come up to us and tell us that our lives weren’t going to be the same. Alycia and I are responsible adults; I don’t think we would have chosen to be parents without knowing that our lives were going to change.
More helpful advice would have been that everything continues to change when having a child. Everything changed from the moment Clara was born, obviously. Once we started getting into a good rhythm of having a daughter, everything changed again when Alycia got a job teaching. After a few months of figuring out those rhythms, everything changed for a third time when I started working at the church again. So come September or October, I’m expecting something will happen to completely alter our lives again.
For most of Clara’s life I was fixing computers. I enjoyed my job, but I was never inclined to stay late or put in any overtime. When a job called for it, I would stay after hours, but for the most part at 5:00 I was like Fred Flintstone waiting to hear that bird. Now that I’m working at the church again, though, I’ve found myself happy to work a little later and put in a few more hours.
Before when I was working at the church, if I put in a few extra hours, which happened frequently as a youth pastor, it wasn’t a big deal. Alycia was doing ministry with me and we didn’t have anyone waiting for us at home other than Elphie. Now when I stay late at the office, though, I’m missing out on the few hours I have to see Alycia and Clara. Clara goes to bed at 7:00 and Alycia and I go to bed a little after that. I don’t want to eat up the time I have with my family because I want to get a little more work done.
No one at my church encourages me to work too much or ignore my family; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. So if I feel inclined to work more because I want to get more done or because I want to feel more accomplished or because I want people to acknowledge my work, that’s on me; I can’t blame it on anyone else. I never thought I’d be the stereotypical father who works too much and avoids his family; I’m not yet, but I may have to try harder not to be than I thought I would.
Work is good; it was present in God’s creation before the fall. Like most good things, though, work can be detrimental if it takes too much of our focus. I love my job and I love working at a church. As great as that is, though, I still need to love my family better and more than I do my job.