‘Ant-Man’s’ Approach to Work-Life Balance Is an Important Reminder for Parents Everywhere

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Image Source: The Walt Disney Company

Editor’s Note: Babble and Marvel are both a part of The Walt Disney Company.

Can you save the world and still be home by 6 pm?

It’s hard when you feel pulled in two directions – especially when those two directions are things you are passionate about. This is the dilemma that Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man, struggles with in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp.

At the beginning of the movie, we find out that Scott is on thin ice with the law.  Monitored by the FBI, he is on house arrest because of his role in helping Captain America and is only days away from freedom. He has done everything possible to stay on the right side of the law to keep his relationship with his daughter safe.

However, when he has a vision that could help his friends, he reaches out and gets sucked back in to the Super Hero world. The question becomes: Does he help his friends and the world? Even if it puts his relationship with his daughter at risk?

Now, my own situation may not be as drastic, but it could have the same result.

While the demands of my job constantly tug at me, so does the love of my daughter. When those two collide, sometimes I’ve had to make hard choices. Again, not as drastic as saving the world or entering the “quantum realm,” but it feels just as important to me. Maybe it does to you, too.

Craig Yoshihara
Image Source: Craig Yoshihara

I remember one time in particular when there was a function at work that I was invited to attend. I was new there, so it would have been a good way to develop relationships. On the other hand, it was also the day of my daughter’s first soccer game … ever. Which one would you go to?

I made the right choice: I went to the soccer game. How could I miss out on one of her “firsts?”

I never regretted it – but I did hear about it. For a whole year. Seriously. Most of the people thought I did the right thing, but there was a core group who couldn’t let it go, and felt that somehow I betrayed them for not going to what amounted to a luncheon.

Honestly, would it have made it easier for me at work to go to this function? Sure, but what would I have sacrificed instead?

Craig Yoshihara
Image Source: Craig Yoshihara

One of my colleagues shared some wise words of advice:

“Never sacrifice the role only you can play for a role someone else can play,” he said. “You don’t want to sacrifice that relationship for anything.”

He was right. Of course, there have been times when I had to prioritize work. But for the most part, I chose a long time ago to put family first whenever possible. It’s not because I don’t care about my job, or because I don’t love my career. It’s because, while other people can do my job, I am singularly qualified to be Emma’s dad — and that is a joy and a responsibility I take seriously.

Craig Yoshihara
Image Source: Craig Yoshihara

In the short run, it cost me. In the long run, however, it has paid dividends in spades! I have a great relationship with my daughter, now in high school, who knows that her dad will always be there when it’s important.

Likewise, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott is torn between his duty as a Super Hero and his love for his daughter. He tries hard to balance both worlds … but it’s a no-brainer. His daughter wins every time, reminding us all that balancing work and family is a choice we make every day. Whether you are a Super Hero or not.

See Ant-Man and The Wasp on Digital and Blu-ray beginning October 16.

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