OPINION: A new study released this week highlighted some worrying statistics about the amount of time parents have available for "family time".
Of course, like most of these surveys, it should be taken with a grain of salt or two because it was commissioned by a car company and relies on people completing it online, but despite that it still raises some interesting points.
According to the results, almost 60 per cent of parents reckon their work commitments had an impact on their family life.
Well, surely that's a no-brainer? I'd love to spend all day with my pair of "little angels" but unfortunately there are bills to be paid. So of course work impacts on my family life.
Other concerns included missing their children's sporting and cultural events, not making it home for dinner, and being too tired - because of their job - to play. In fact, according to the report, 21 per cent of those who responded were too tired to play with their children at night or at weekends.
I'm well aware that it's not easy being a working parent. Something always has to give because you can't be in two places at once, but there are often ways around things. At the same time, the reality is you need money to provide food, clothing and shelter, plus the odd cheese roll or two. Powerball didn't come my way - or yours - on Saturday, so I'm guessing working is our only real option.
But to be too tired to not be able to play with your children? That's some serious out-of-kilter work/life balance.
I'm not perfect at it, but I try hard to leave work at 5pm each day. It doesn't always happen, but it happens more times than it doesn't. Once home, my main focus (after saying hello to his mother and sister) is to spend 20 minutes or so with Zach. Just the two of us - only because his sister can't walk yet and would only be a nuisance to the lads - and, depending on the weather, we'll try to head outside, check the chickens, give them some food and then mess around a bit.
The extra sunlight hour means we've been kicking a ball around the backyard this week, something I'll happily do just to hear his squeals of delight. Thankfully I've still got some silky moves which means, even in gumboots, I can still beat him.
If the weather is inclement, I usually let him roll around the floor with me, while I whip out some wrestling moves. He takes great delight in dropping some flying Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka moves. For some reason he really likes smashing into his old man.
If there ever became a point where I was "too tired" to take part in these important rituals, then I think things would have to change.
It's not easy being a parent, let alone one who has to work as well. But surely there are more important things than an extra hour in the office? And there's always that time when they're asleep.
* Mark Hotton is a fulltime dad/fulltime journalist who will finally get to score the goals he's dreamed about. Even if it is against a 3-year-old. Backyard glory will be his. Finally.
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