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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Tale of the 10-minute dad
Joanne, Annabelle and Jeff Dobbie
Joanne, Annabelle and Jeff Dobbie
Work commitments mean nearly half of British fathers barely see their children, according to a survey by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

BBC News Online spoke to a father about how he was coping combining work and family life.

Jeff Dobbie, 33, is married to Joanne, 31, and they have a 10 month old daughter, Annabelle. He lives in Surrey, but works in London

I'm a fairly new dad. My daughter Annabelle is 10 months old today.

Becoming a father is the best thing I have ever done. I've never been happier, but I only see her for 50 minutes during the week.

I commute to London and do not get back until 7pm most nights - and she's asleep by about 6.30pm. The only time I see her is before I go to work for about ten minutes.

I don't know how people cope with more than two kids

Jeff Dobbie

I come out of the shower, see my wife get her ready, nip down to have breakfast.

It is literally in the time it takes to get her ready, put her in a pram and drop her off at the childminders' - that's about 10 minutes a day on average and less than an hour a week.

Having a baby is such a huge change - you have to be emotionally much stronger.

It's the biggest change I have ever experienced in my life, bigger than getting married, buying a house or having relationships, nothing can prepare you for it.

It is totally rewarding, but it doesn't seem right if you can only see them for 50 minutes over five days.

If anything maybe I have further to fall, maybe that's why I'm theatrical about it.

It is almost halfway house, hanging onto jobs, hanging onto parenthood

Jeff Dobbie
I've sort of said goodbye to one part of my life and said hello to a bigger responsibility.

My wife Joanne went back to work three months ago, and that's when it gets hard.

It's difficult because we are not quite doing anything brilliantly - we're managing. It is almost a halfway house, hanging onto jobs, hanging onto parenthood.

Ideally my wife would just like to pack it in and be a mum. We are in that grey area.

The answer eventually is to find a local job or move further south to a better quality of life.

This is the pain before the gain. One answer would be to downscale, take a pay cut and get an improved quality of life.

We talk about it freely - even the possibility of working abroad because the lifestyle is better.

I don't know how people cope with more than two kids - maybe they're just better adapted.

Work-life balance

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25 Sep 02 | Business
24 Sep 02 | Working Lunch
24 Sep 02 | Business
23 Sep 02 | Working Lunch
22 Sep 02 | Business
29 Aug 02 | Business
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