You Feel Financial Pressures
After the arrival of your child, your sense of overwhelming responsibility as a father and as a provider really kicks in. Some men almost feel a sense of panic and want to run away. To make matters worse, perhaps your wife stopped working or drastically cut back her hours. Even though you may want her to be home with your new baby, her lack of financial contribution increases the load you feel. Ironically, just as you should be diverting some of your attention to your newborn, you feel the pressure to work longer hours in order to give your family what you want them to have. Furthermore, as your children get older and reach an age when they may need you the most, you are moving through your thirties and forties, your "professional prime," a time when you feel you must give your career all of your efforts in order to obtain a certain level of status and security.
The more children you have, the more justified you may feel in not devoting more time to them. You feel even more financial pressure. You work even longer hours. You're tired and you say to yourself, "I work hard all week. I've already fulfilled my responsibilities to my family -- and then some." And you infer, "I've already demonstrated how much I care about my family."
Oftentimes it is difficult to distinguish your drive to succeed in your career from the realistic financial obligations you must meet. It is more socially acceptable to invoke the latter than former in justifying your absence from family life. It appears less selfish to blame your financial responsibilities than to acknowledge your more narcissistic strivings for success when you work on weekends or arrive home after your child's bedtime.
Your children need you. They need your attention, your encouragement, your wisdom, your physical contact, your affirmation of how important they are to you. They need your love more than they need a CD player or a $100 pair of sneakers. And you need to be with your children so that you can develop a healthier perspective and balance in life.