I try to be a modern Swedish dad. Meaning that I intend to take on half of the workload and responsibilities that come with having a family. I have been on paternity leave for two great sessions of eight months each (yes, fairly well covered financially by the government, and yes, we pay a lot in taxes) and I think I can safely say that I know the needs of my daughters and our family just as well as my wife does. We have both worked a little less than full time since we had the kids, which allows a little extra space to move around the week, without the little ones having to spend more than six hours per day in pre-school.
October, November and December of 2009 just weren’t… any of that. We agreed on it as I signed the book deal: This is one of those rare moments when going all-in really is the only option. (It rarely is.) At a later point, when Lisa wants to do the same, I will cover for her like she for all of the fall has covered for me. (I married the Energizer Rabbit. The strongest, toughest and all-in-all best person I think I have ever met. Her stamina leaves me in awe.)
But I still don’t feel good about not being there for my fifty percent this fall. I just don’t. The girls do notice. My big one is five later this year, she answered the phone one day, a friend of the family was on the line. He got the full scoop, and I overheard it:
”Dad is travelling a LOT and is working SO MUCH with his book, but then sometimes he’s at home with us and soon I think he will be done and then he’ll be home all the time…”
I get teary-eyed just writing that now. Sorry for being such a sap. It’s just that very soon, she will move out. It’s fifteen years but likely to feel like fifteen minutes. Which means that no matter how much I loved writing this book, I won’t be doing a shift like these past months anytime soon again. If ever. Sorry. No can do.