The ultimate struggle. Work to support your family or simply support your family. This is the choice every parent has to make.
Even before I had kids I always told myself that I would never choose work over my family. Period. I understand the choice isn't that black and white, but why isn't it?
Growing up I was lucky enough to have a dad that owned his own business. This gave him the opportunity to be at any of my events he wanted to be. Granted he was the coach of my soccer team, which were the main events of my whole childhood, so he sort of had to be there. Maybe that is why I feel the way I do. Being spoiled with that fact and being an only child for the majority of my childhood I was lucky to have my parents attend all of my events.
So work or family. I imagine lots of people will argue and say things like; "...I have deadlines..." "...so and so is sick so I have to cover their work..." "...we could really use the money...". While all of those are very real possibilities to choose work over family are they really valid. I mean REALLY valid?
If you choose to work late to get a few extra hours on the paycheck is it worth it to come home to have your wife tell you, "Oh you should have seen Little Johnny. He was amazing tonight! He scored the game winning goal! You would have been so proud of him!"
"You WOULD have been so proud of him!"
That is something I never want to hear as a father. Of course you would feel proud. Obviously. What father wouldn't. At the same time, what father wouldn't want to be there, in that moment, to witness it for himself and feel that pride bursting from his chest. That is where I want to be. I want my kids to be able to look over at the side lines and see me there. Smiling ear to ear. To have him run over and give him a huge high five. That is what I want.
I argue that the decision between work and family is very much black and white. You may just be clouded with other colors. Red being the major color that throws off the black and white decision making of this equation.
Paychecks and jobs come and go. Memories don't. Even in the digital age where everything can be recorded. Nothing compares to being in the moment, feeling the energy and actually experiencing it. At the end of the day your kids don't care how much money you made that day. They care that when they scored that game winning goal that you were there in the stands. That's what matters to them, and in the end, that is all that matters.