Balancing family time with your work can be a challenge for just about any family but when you have special needs children and find yourself struggling to make it to the next pay check every single month… it becomes less of a challenge so much as a losing battle.
I am a web developer, which essentially means that I write code that makes a website work… not the design, but the functionality of it. As such, I do get the luxury of working from home but that doesn’t mean I get any extra time with my family. Quite the opposite really, for the most part. I tend to do my 9-5 like most everyone else does, and then I eat supper and end up with the same decision every single night… do I get in extra work in the evening so that we can afford groceries or do I spend time with the family after supper? I find myself having to sacrifice family time so that I can get extra work in so that I can make ends meet.
It gets especially painful when I buckle my kids into the van and my 2 year old says “Dad, you coming with us?” and I have to say “no, you guys are going swimming without me today… daddy has to work.”
Natalie (my wife) often gets upset that I’m not spending enough time with her and the boys, my 2 year old often gets upset when I leave… for example, Sunday mornings are supposed to be my day to sleep in, but he absolutely will not allow his mom to get up with him. It has to be me. And he’ll cry the entire time that I’m not up. We know that it’s because he doesn’t get enough time with me.
It’s really hard on them, it’s really hard on me. I have people asking me to do work for them all the time, and when I see a chance at extra income, I just have to take it… having to figure out how to stretch $20 for a week until the next paycheck gets pretty old pretty fast.
It’s great that there are charities out there funding research and setting up programs to help our children learn and grow… because there’s no way I could afford that stuff. I don’t think it should be up to them to help us out just so that I can spend more time not working, but at the same time, I really think that we (and by we, I mean all families with special needs children) could really use some extra help sometimes.
I really love my family time, I just wish I could get more of it.