Separating Work & Home

Something is going on at home that is causing my wife and me a great deal of stress. It relates to one of our children. I don’t want to go into details. I am comforted by the thought that ultimately, G-d willing, everything will be fine. I recognize that when you are in the middle of a situation, it always seems bigger than when looking back upon it. But the stress at this time is weighing on me.

I believe in work and pride myself on being a professional. As I’ve noted before, I am very concerned about my students on a number of levels. I strive to keep my home life at home. When I come to work, my focus is in the classroom.

Just yesterday, I was counseling a colleague who recently had a baby about the importance of separating work and home life. My colleague responded somewhat dismissively, “But you’re a dad. You’re not a mom.” Besides the obvious, she may have a point. My wife struggles mightily with this separation, although sometimes she finds going to the office to be a form of escape.

Today, I struggled along with her. I called her at noon. She said, “I’m not doing so well.” I said, “Me too.” Sure, it’s nice to be on the same page. However, I would have preferred to have been that kind of dad my colleague was referring to. It would have made my day easier. Of course, my day also would have been easier if all the students had sat there with their hands folded, desirous of taking in information, asking questions when appropriate, and responding to questions in respectful manner. (As if!)

Ultimately, I still taught the lesson I wanted. I hope the students gained the information I strove to impart. Yet, being a teacher was hard today. My mind was elsewhere. It was on the challenges at home – the challenges of being a dad.

35 thoughts on “Separating Work & Home

  1. Oh no, that’s so hard to do for me. Or was, when I was working. But I know what you mean too. I was a preschool teacher, and those kiddos really needed me THERE. It’s just mentally tough to do when something is going on at home. I hope whatever is it gets resolved soon, and that all will be well again for you and your family.

  2. My hubby and I we can both relate to this! Many of our friends often tell us to leave work at work and home at home but it’s easier said than done! 🙁 Last year (December), my hubby was having a lot of issues at work with his boss and a colleague, every day, he would come home, upset or sad about it. Back in December, I was on maternity leave and didn’t have the pressures of work but I knew my hub was not well. He decided to apply somewhere else and left in April to a better place (now he is a different husband and dad). Of course, having something difficult going on at home is different and you can’t just put it aside. What I’m trying to say is: even if you are not a mom, I know dads also have difficulties separating home and work. I hope you and your family will get through this very soon!

    • I am glad your husband was able to change jobs and things have improved for him for work and at at home.
      I am sure we will get through this challenging time.
      Thanks so much for your comments and empathy.

  3. I can imagine how hard it is to be distractd in your job, I’m from a family of tecahers, everyone including my husbands family teaches, apart from me and my hubby. They’re all really good at it as well, but it takes a lot of energy and you really have to be there with your full attention which must be really hard when you’re mind is elsewhere. Hope it gets better soon, bring on the christmas break eh?

  4. Dosent matter if you are a mom or a dad,the commitment you give to parenting remains the same.Seperating work from home is easier said than done.But its good to have the thought at the back of your mind and conciously make an effort to do that.
    I hope everything sorts out soon for you guys.
    Take care!

  5. I have been very blessed to be able to separate work and home, but work for me is fun and excited and a break. I am very blessed to have a desk job so then those two cross, I can just sit at my desk and cry silently. Maybe, you could use it as a life lesson to your students. I do not mean tell them the situation but talk to them that you are going through a hard time or just ask them about some of their hardships and tell them about your years in school and open the floor for dialog with students. You both get to release the emotion and learn how others handle struggles and help each other. I had a teacher do this a lot one semester and it helped.

    As for you situation, you are right God is going to see you through just like Abraham and Moses and so on. Stay close to The Lord, and He will see you through and use it for good.

    • Work is usally a break for me also – though not always fun and exciting. Bringing up real life situations can be a positive in the classroom. I am not sure how I would say this to the students so that they could really get it.
      Yes, I am sure G-d will see me through.

  6. An important topic to bring up. I should think a lot of people struggle with this. After all, it’s human? And I’m not sure there’s an answer. However, I do hope you and your family figure this one out soon.

  7. I can write you two pages about knowing where you are coming from and empathizing. However, everyone is different and every case is different and no one knows what the other person is going through. Having said that, You know where Im coming from, and you certainly know my intentions of this post. As you know, my family has been through the mill, and when it comes down to it, empathy from somewhere else, while it may make you feel better, doesn’t solve your problems. Even with health issue, most problems aren’t insurmountable, they just may feel like it at the time.
    However, Just like you try not to bring home a bad day. You can’t let home problems affect you at work. You have to find a way that any problems you are facing not become all encompassing. Otherwise all good is overshadowed, and depression will set in. It is a very hard thing to do and Im not trying to preach. Their have been many times, where I would find myself just in tears at my desk. (you probably dont cry, You are macho, you dont even like ABBA (some levity)) . But, besides the meetings and the physical responsibilities of having to take care of home life, even at work, you cannot let it affect the quality of your job while you are doing it. I know I am ranting but I am trying to find something to say to make you feel better and possibly give you some advice from someone who wishes they can take their own. My family is always their for you guys if you ever need to talk. (Yes, you can even yell at me like you did yesterday 🙂 )

    • Firstly, I did not yell. I may have been slightly louder but
      you said you were having trouble hearing.
      Anyway, I know that you know too much about this topic. I am sorry that the circumstances have forced you to have to practice this skill often.
      Generally, I am good at seperating. This issue has gotten to me in a way. I suppose I could and have tried to figure out why this issus has been more difficult to put aside. However, that is a private matter.
      Thanks for your friendship and support.

  8. Having lived half my childhood without my Dad I know how important a Dad is – as important as a Mum. Your role is different but important because of that difference. Well done for responding to that challenge – too many people arent distracted in work by their kids -and thats a bad thing. I hope it all works out well for your family and that you will soon be turning your backs on whatever it is and moving on.

  9. You know, I don’t have children… the only think I am is a “cat mommy”… In many ways I might not exactly feel what you feel… but I know how much my parents worried about us and I could easily imagine they were going through a lot of those emotional phases you are experiencing now!
    Once in a while I think, one has to set priorities – and I personally guess, the challenge of being a Dad might be one that leads the list!

  10. My husband and I are dealing with a stressful situation with one of our boys too. It is hard to stay focused when your child is stuggling. We made the situation too big of a deal, which created more stress. We calmed down a bit and are doing better now. So is our son. Parenting can be quite an emotional rollercoaster ride. Hang in there. I hope things will get better for your son soon.

    • I think we are doing a solid job of not bringing our stress to BR. As a child who has anxiety, that would make it worse. Sometimes, it seems like just throwing it back on him would be appropriate but he does not react well to such things.
      Anyway, I am glad things are getting better there. My wife and I are on the same page, and I am confident that things will be fine here as well.

  11. Having gotten to “know you” a bit through your blog over the last few months, I trust you are a wonderful father and teacher. I think being aware of the need to separate, even if you can’t always practice it perfectly or even well, is all we can ask of ourselves during a difficult time. God speed to you and your family.

  12. Personally I hate when people make that mom versus dad distinction. It really drives me crazy. I find it deeming to my husband to imply that somehow his relationship with the children is less than mine is. Yes, I do realize that he is infinitely more involved than the stereotype of the father who pats his kids on their heads and calls it a day. BUT I think that more parents are truly parenting equally and I think that’s a really fabulous thing. I hope that everything gets better soon.

  13. I struggle with letting things go in general, but when I am at work I do my job but keep my family in mind and miss them terribly. I would rather be with them. When I am at home I, unfortunately think about my job and often talk things over with my husband, but I am usually successful at not letting work problems affect interactions with my daughter. We are living only one life and what happens at work and at home are a continuum of our emotional life – they are not discrete areas of our brain and hearts and we cannot switch from one to the other. The responses we have to our ‘work’ environment are the same underlying emotional responses we have to our ‘home’ environment, but we are more restricted at work (in terms of responses/reactions). We aren’t two different people at work and home – there are just different social skills to be applied. Why the pressure to be so separate? Shouldn’t we take life as a whole and apply our lessons and experiences to each moment? Patience with my toddler helps me have patience with my boss. Remembering the cute thing she said that morning helps me get through a boring meeting. Learning a new skill at work is something I can pass along to my child.

    That being said – I am sorry to hear of your troubles and I do hope it has passed. Motherhood and fatherhood are, inherently different but each with its own function and important place in a child’s life. One must have fruit and one must have vegetables. We would never compare them but they are both equally critical to our survival.

    • I like what you said – that work and home are not discrete areas of our brain and hearts and we cannot switch from one to the other. So true. I think someone should invent a button.
      Thanks for your empathy and thoughtful comments.

  14. It’s so tough to separate the two. And I do think it’s harder for women/moms. Given the kind of work that I do, there is no separation, really. My kids are interwoven into my work day and my work is interwoven into my kids’ lives. Sigh. This is the life I lead. I’m trying to accept it.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re going through some challenges at home. I hope everything works out for the best.

    • My wife does take it in a way that I don’t. She struggles more with seperating. this current situation has affected me in a way that others have not.
      I am not clear what you mean regarding the interwoven comment.
      Thanks for your support and good wishes.

  15. Just that, as an editor working from home, I have some flexibility in where I do my work. But that means that my kids are sitting at my desk with me while I edit during the day, and when I drop them off at their activities, I’m usually waiting outside in the car working on my laptop. So I’m always working, but I’m always with them.

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