History in the Making or just plain Selfish?

Tim Peake is a name that will forever go down in British history. The first British man to set foot aboard the International Space Station and a man that is sure to have inspired a whole new generation of children to follow their dreams. We have come far from 1969 and humans stepping foot on the moon for the first time when that dream of space travel would have been reserved mainly for American children, now British children know that if they want it enough, and work hard enough, being a British astronaut who makes their mark in the history of space travel really is possible.

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Whilst Hubby and the kids watched the Soyuz rocket launch I watched the children’s reaction and knew that LP and Little Man really do have such an incredible world at their feet. They have been born into a world of such great advances in technology and science that nearly anything is possible – and who knows what breakthroughs will be made in their lifetime.

Every day there are people like Tim Peake, leaving their families at home to go and do the job they have dreamed of doing. The job they have trained for and the job they excel at. There are men and women who go out and work in offices, seemingly risk free jobs. Then there are the emergency services – like my Husband – who have times when their jobs are riskier than others but who always stay as safe as they possible can with the training they have been given.

But then you have the armed forces. Both men and women have gone on tours of duty for generations. They go out for 6 months at a time – sometimes longer or shorter – and they leave families behind. Often partners and children. But they do a job they have been trained to do, a job that many wouldn’t even consider doing and a job that is so, so necessary to not only our safety and the protection of our life as we know it but also the safety of future generations. They do the jobs they do so that we can keep living in the conditions we are used to, so our children can grow up in a better world and so that conditions across the world can gradually be improved.

And then there are people like Tim Peake. People of science have taken risks since the first days of mankind to make sure our civilisation keeps progressing, learning new things, adapting and moving forward. People like Tim Peake have helped us to realise how small the world is in the great scheme of things but long before that there were people exploring new oceans, conquering new mountains and finding new lands – and none of that was without associated risks.

When I watched the Soyuz rocket launch I felt immense pride. What a day for Tim Peake but what a day for British people too. You could see the pride and love on his wife and son’s faces and you know that watching their Dad make history is something those boys will never forget – it may even inspire them to follow in his footsteps. How many people can say their Dad was the first Brit to set foot on ISS? Just incredible.

But Tim Peake’s mission means that his wife has to spend six months parenting alone. That their sons have to spend Christmas and maybe even Birthdays without their father there. Just like so many other children have to when their parents go off to jobs abroad, army tours or even musicians going on tour.

Does that make Tim Peake a selfish person? I don’t think so. It makes him an astronaut, doing a job he has dreamed of – because, I would think, he loves his job but also because it provides for his family – gives them a roof over their heads and all those presents under the tree. The only sacrifice being that he isn’t there to see them open them.

Would you say people in the army are selfish? No. So why an astronaut? I read a newspaper column yesterday and it made me really annoyed. If men, and women, didn’t take risks in their jobs, risks that they are trained to deal with, we would still be living in the dark ages – we would still think the earth was flat.

Tim Peake’s name will never be as familiar to people as Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. But in the history of British space travel Tim Peake’s name will be there forever. I am sure his wife and children would never think him selfish – they would rather have a husband and father doing a job he adored, providing for them and setting a great example to generations of children than any alternative career.

When I first met Hubby I knew that his job would mean he would never be able to do a bedtime routine with the kids every night. I knew family life would be harder than someone working 9-5 and I knew that our life going forward would be a juggling act. But, I went into our relationship with my eyes wide open and to be honest it isn’t all bad – we have mornings together that other families wouldn’t have. We have three or four days together when Hubby isn’t working rather than a traditional two day weekend and although I have to work when Hubby’s off I can’t complain at our balance – after all, it’s what I signed up for.

Rebecca Peake knew what she was signing up for when she had children with an astronaut. She knew there would be periods where he wouldn’t be there – just like anyone raising a family in the army. There are jobs that someone has to do and not all those jobs can be reserved for those without a spouse and children. Should people put their careers on hold, especially when it involves periods away from home, just because they have children? Should they never have another ambition and should they stop daring to dream?

I don’t think they should. I think everyone should have a dream. They should keep reaching for the stars and they should keep inspiring their children to go and get a job they love, have a family too if they want it, work hard, live life and do whatever they can to make them and their family happy. If that means six months apart whilst a parent goes and does their job then so be it – someone’s got to do it.

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21 thoughts on “History in the Making or just plain Selfish?

  1. I really enjoyed this post Donna, different to your usual ones. I agree completely with you. I think that you have to follow your dreams as long as its best for your family. And I am sure that they discussed it a lot before hand. And how amazing to say your partner/dad is an astronaut! x

  2. Definitely an important topic to discuss! Of course it’s not selfish… he’s doing amazing work to further the world’s knowledge of space and everything up there! Yes it’s more dangerous than some other jobs… but even a bus driver could have an accident at work and potentially lose his/her life.

    I met Helen Sharman (first brit in space!) When I was at high school and filmed a TV program where I was pulled from the audience to help her for BBC schools! Little claim to fame there!
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  3. What a brilliant post! You should do more current affair posts!

    Although it makes a change for a man to have the same bad press about leaving kids, etc. which is often reserved for women, I’m still saddened that this has come first over the fact that he is inspiring hundreds, if not thousands, and gathering vital knowledge.

    As an emergency service worker like your hubby, S is also feeling the worry for when I go back to work. It’s not easy but it has to be done. I’ve built a career after all. My career isn’t selfish – it pays the bills too! Yes, there are probably safer jobs out there, but then would I be happy? No. Sounds selfish, but happy mummy = happy home. Likewise, Happy Tim = happy home? I think so.

    I’d be so proud if that was my dad.

  4. This is really interesting. I’m not sure what my opinion is – 6 months isn’t THAT long is it and like you say, his wife knew what she was “signing up for,” and I bet lengthy discussions were had before he decided to do it. To throw a spanner in the works here, if he was a woman would that make people even more vitriolic about her leaving her children for 6 months? I bet it would!
    Great post Donna. xxx

  5. I’m definitely in agreement with you. He is not selfish at all. In fact, even if he had been plucked from obscurity and given this chance, I would argue fiercely that the selflessness of his wife and kids should win out of what would his selfishness in that situation. But when he’s spent a working life trying to get there, no. Not selfish at all, and in fact is an inspiration to many.
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  6. You are so right, I was disgusted when I read the article in the paper where the writer tried to make out that he was selfish for doing this – how amazing to be able to say that this man is your Dad or husband. If having children meant we could never do anything amazing again what a boring world it would be!

    This is my favourite post of yours so far, beautifully written 🙂

    Stevie xx

  7. Really great post! I too was filled with pride as I witness Tim Peake’s epic ‘adventure’ unfold in our lifetime! I too watched his young families faces as they watched the world watch their daddy ‘living his ‘dream’. When we decided to have our daughter 2yrs ago we knew that my partner wouldn’t be there for bath times, bedtimes, parties, days out and preschool concerts, etc… but we did it because in order to have the life you want personally and as a family, you have to sacrifice things sometimes along the way 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  8. It’s definitely an interesting point to discuss! To be honest I can see both sides, but I am not sure which side I am on :p (I am an on the fence type person) but I will say it’s a great achievement for the British people and we wish him the best! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again in the New Year xx
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  9. This is a very interesting read! I don’t think he’s being selfish at all, what idiot wrote that article? I think it is amazing what he’s doing and if his family support him then so should everyone else. I think there are going to be lots of kids wanting to be astronauts.xx #KCACOLS

  10. So true – without people willing to sacrifice those moments with family we wouldn’t be able to offer emergency services, or make scientific advancements. The thing that often gets me about that kind of reporting is the double gender standard they often have. Nobody bats an eyelid about a male CEO or something spending lots of time away from home for work, but if it’s a woman it’s suddenly a huge deal. So I suppose the column makes a change from that at least! x #KCACOLS
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  11. Here here! Mr TB is in the Royal Navy and it’s life that he won’t always be around. He’s just come home from eight weeks of working away and it was tough looking after the girls alone. But it’s his job. I didn’t read the newspaper column but I can imagine it was written by someone who has never experienced military or emergency services life #KCACOLS
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  12. I totally agree with you – I’ve been really annoyed at people calling him selfish! He’s worked his entire life towards this in an incredibly scientific field. I assume these journalists criticising him think nothing of buggering off to report in foreign countries? And they’d never criticise someone who goes to fight in the army. I want to work in the emergency services, and I’d be heartbroken if someone called me selfish for having to spend time away from family for work. Really good post #KCACOLS

  13. Oh my word I can’t believe people were calling him selfish! They need their view of the world adjusting! I think it’s pretty incredible for him and his family and like you say for British children. Absolutely amazing! #PickNMix

  14. I missed this post and just found it through A Cornish Mum’s recommendation. I have immense respect for people that do such jobs that keep them away from their family for long periods of time. I’m not sure it’s something that I could do. My husband has just taken a new job that will involve lots of travelling – two weeks at a time not months, but still it’s a big change for us. And we discussed it at length before he took the job. As you have said I knew what I was signing up for. Really enjoyed this post Donna you should write more like it 🙂
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  15. I love this post Donna!! I don’t understand how someone can say that he is being selfish at all!! What are they thinking?? His family will be absolutely proud of him especially his kids. It will be something amazing to tell at school. Of course it will be difficult for the family not to have him around for 6 months but they knew this before they started a family so in some way they are prepared although it won’t take away that it will of course be hard. I haven’t had the experience of having my husband away from home due to work so I’m not sure how will I feel if we happen to be in that situation. I guess it all depends on what the job is all about. I really enjoyed reading this!! Thanks for sharing this at #KCACOLS. As you know I have taken a little break from blogging but #KCACOLS will be back next Saturday 9th January so I would love to see you again!! Happy New Year lovely!! 🙂 xx

  16. Fully agree it’s the same as the armed forces in the risks and facts of supporting families and doing their job. I wouldn’t ever call is selfish. People really just need to stop judging everyone else for the things they do in life. I get so annoyed with all the judgments that fly around everyday. Can you imagine a world where we all stopped judging wouldn’t that be heaven. Off on a tangent now lol Thank you ever so much for linking up to SWM and the amazing linky/blog support last year. It means the world to me that people come back again and again to share their amazing blogs. I hope this year is no different. It’s great to get to know more blogs and I love reading each post every week and sharing them. You have such a lovely blog here. I wish you a huge happy new year!!! #sharewithme

  17. Great post Donna, I met Tim when he worked as a Test Pilot at Agusta Westland, so although he wasn’t an astronaught from the word go his job has always taken him away from family for long periods of time, so I would think this is something they’re really used to. Possibly 6 months away and all of the prior training would have amounted to more than usual time away but he was in touch with all of us everyday on social media and even presented an award from space. So I’m sure he was in touch with his family just as much. What an opportunity, it’s not selfish to go after your dreams with the love and support of your family xo

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