The Great Balancing Act

As a dad, there's nothing worse than working late, missing that interaction with your kids especially if your kids are younger, like mine. It's never good but sometimes necessary to have more of a virtual relationship with your children. When they are older you can do that with phone calls, emails, texting, maybe even a video chat when out of town. But nothing ever replaces having dad THERE. How effective would a phone call be to my 7 month old son now? Pretty much a one way conversation. My son would be more thrilled to eat the phone than to sit and listen to me talk to him at this point. The role of a father is irreplaceable, and I'm sorry I can't always be there. Like last night. I think I saw my kids for all of two hours, and it hurts. I know I'm not the only guy who feels this way and that there are also a lot of moms who wish they could stay at home but can't. Tonight is church, which is a good thing, but once again I will only see my kids for a few hours in !
the afternoon before the bedtime routine begins. As the sole income earner I need to perform my best at work, even if it requires some extra hours now and then. But, how do you balance work and family? Because it never seems like enough family time, and it always feels like too much time at work! How do you maximize the time with your kids? I'd love to hear your ideas, just leave a comment on this post! Even if you're not a parent yourself, how did your parents maximize their time with you(special memories?)