Paul Ryan is retiring to avoid being just a ‘weekend dad’

After almost two decades in Congress, father of three Paul Ryan announces he’s retiring to spend more time parenting. "If I am here for one more term, my kids will only have known me as a weekend dad," Ryan said at a press conference.

Ryan, 48, has two sons—Samuel,13, and Charles, 15,—and a daughter, 16-year-old Elizabeth. Noting that his daughter was 13 when he became speaker, Ryan made it clear that he intends to slow down so he can be more of a presence in his kids’ remaining teen years.

“The truth is, it is easy for it to take over everything in your life and you can’t just let that happen because there are other things in life that can be fleeting as well: Namely your time as a husband and a father,” he said

In this announcement, Ryan mentioned how his own father died when he was the age Elizabeth is now. The teenaged Ryan came home from a late shift at McDonald’s and found Paul Sr., who had suffered a fatal heart attack, and the experience is obviously weighing on his mind these days.

From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

A post shared by Paul Ryan (@pauldavisryan) on

It may seem like by the time the kids are in high school it’s a little late for a dad to commit to being more than a ‘weekend parent,’ but research indicates the adolescent years may be the perfect time for dads to commit to being at home more.

A study out of Penn State found that the more time teens spend with their dads, the higher their self-esteem and social skills, and another study found teens with involved fathers reported 7% less sexual activity than average, and had lower sexual risk behaviors.

Political issues were another factor in Ryan’s decision, but it’s nice to see a high-profile dad factoring parenting into career decisions. As Ryan said, family time can be fleeting.

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