The Typical Day of a Millenial Dad: Inflation, Traffic and Work Life Balance?

Photo by Cyle De Guzman on Unsplash

My favorite term as a professional is "Work-Life Balance". But as we all know, living in Manila, this concept is something that is easily becoming a pipe dream for most of us nowadays - especially for first-time dads. I have tried for the past six months to keep a semblance of a schedule that could keep me healthy physically and sane mentally - but worsening traffic, sky-high inflation and, newly-acquired expenses is pushing me to the brink. 

In fact, here's my typical worst-case scenario this year which happens at least twice a week:

  • 6:30AM to 7:00AM - Bathtime
  • 7:00AM to 7:30AM - Bonding time with Scola
  • 7:30AM to 7:45AM - Breakfast
  • 7:30AM to 10AM - Travel time to Work
  • 10AM to 12PM - Work
  • 12PM to 1PM - Lunch (Write or Play)
  • 1PM to 4:30PM - Work
  • 4:30PM to 5:30PM - Run at Ayala Triangle
  • 5:30PM to 6:30PM - Travel time to own business
  • 6:30PM to 8PM - Manage the business
  • 8PM to 9PM - Travel time to home
  • 9PM to 9:30PM - Dinner
  • 9:30 to 10:30PM - Bonding time with Scola
  • 10:30PM to 12AM - Free time (Write or Play or Exercise)

If you noticed the bolded segments, the time I spend with my kid is a paltry 1.5 hours while I spend a minimum of 4.5 hours stuck in traffic every day. It is a sad and bad situation. People will say then that the circumstances I find myself are due to my own choices. True, but I just hope and pray that things do not get worse. While I would like to really move out of work, I'm not earning enough to support my family with that income alone. While I would have wanted to live near work, my own financial limitations prevented me to get one near me four years ago - renting is also not an option. So how do I manage? Here's how I do it:

1. Staying on a strict schedule
If you notice, all of my activities are more or less compartmentalized into segments and I try to follow them as strictly as possible. With so little time in one day, there's really no legroom for any delays - even for leisure activities. I just make sure to give free time for myself just to balance everything out.

2. Any bonding time is better than none
The ideal scenario is to spend the whole day with my wife and our kid but that obviously ain't realistic - not unless I win the lottery. But more than anything else, what's worse is if I can't provide for the needs of my family. I think this is "maturity" kicking in but I would rather spend my whole day making sure my family is comfortable than me being comfortable just by myself. But of course, even with the little bonding time I get to have with my kid, that's better than spending no time at all with him. Any effort is better than none.  

3. Looking forward to the holidays and weekends
If you think my weekdays are jampacked, my weekends are even more hectic. The difference is that weekends are bonding time with my family. Saturday afternoons are usually spent with my mother-in-law while Sundays afternoons are with my own mother. The mornings are reserved as "free time" for rest and other activities. Even with a stricter weekend schedule, nothing beats bonding time not only with our own baby but with my immediate families also. This is also the same case on holidays.

I'm sure I'm not the only one on the same scenario. Any Dads out there on the same boat? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Send me an email, Facebook message or, do it old-school by hitting the comments section below.