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Man stressed out
Balancing work when you're self-employed with family comes with unique challenges

Before I was a father, before I was a husband or a boyfriend, I was a single person who had but themselves to worry about. I had my own immediate needs, my own desires, and my own goals at the forefront. And while a lot has changed over the years, that individual still lives deep inside me, as it does with every one of us.

My wife and I have been married for six years – we have a beautiful 17 month old son, and two dogs. We both work full time and share responsibilities around the household in addition to caring for our little guy. And while the above holds true, my family’s weekly routine is never really the same, nor is the weight always equally distributed.

See, my job isn’t your typical 9-5.

In fact, there isn’t really a set schedule at all as I tend to work at all hours of the day or night, and this unpredictability generally doesn’t agree with a set schedule.

As a Mortgage Agent, I deal with clients of all ages, backgrounds, stories, and respective schedules. These clients have families of their own, and in order to earn a respectful income I must be as flexible as possible to meet their needs. There is a lot of competition out there and if you’re not available for said client when they need you, someone hungrier than you will be.

I often find myself thinking – does this make me a bad dad? A bad husband?

I guess this becomes a very personal question that can really differ from one man to the next. What is a perfect dad, a perfect husband? Who sets this standard anyways and what (if any) goal are we trying to achieve in fatherhood?

Although I won’t sit here and tell you that I’m a perfect dad or a perfect husband, I can tell you that the needs and desires of that individual inside me are the furthest from being individualized.

There is nothing more important to me, nothing that makes me feel better about myself, not a damn thing in this world that fills me with the purest form of happiness than to hear my son laugh when we play; speak the words that we taught him; or take his first steps after months of failed attempts.

I can say with confidence that if it weren’t for the tremendous support that my wife provides to our family when dad needs to meet a client in the evening or during the weekend, I couldn’t do what I love to do.

And let me back-track for a second, if I may.

I love my work – I’m passionate about what I do or else I wouldn’t be spending some of my evenings or weekends with clients. But my family will always come first; enter the challenge of being a self-employed dad.

There is no single client more important than my wife or son, and I certainly expect anyone who I work with to be understanding of this. Conversely, my clients are also very important and they get all of me, outside of my time with family.

Every family has their challenges, and regardless of the size or makeup of your family, sacrifices are almost a necessary part of a healthy relationship.

Is my family’s situation the most ideal? Well I suppose that’s rather subjective, isn’t it?

Working for yourself is very rewarding and it also has its downfalls, but when you’re passionate about what you do and who you do it for, things tend to work themselves out.

Colin Dambrauskas, DCL Member

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