I’m going to write this article from a mother’s point of view, mainly because I am a mother and I cannot speak from a father’s perspective. Let me put it out there that I also spent a good amount of years as a single mother, so I am well aware of the struggles and plights that are associated with THAT, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about here.
How well do you know your children? Nowadays life seems to be a melting pot of work stresses, home life, social swirls and all the other all-encompassing things that contribute to this busy and stressful state of living that we have found ourselves in. What I often give a lot of thought to is how little time I actually spend with my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I love her with every atom of my being and without her I wouldn't be begrudgingly dragging myself out of bed every morning to drive in sometimes frustrating traffic to work every day. She gives me purpose, she makes me want to be a better woman and I hope one day she will aspire to try as hard as I do to make a success of herself.
But at what cost?
We all have to work. As we’re sitting in a meeting, or flying through a mound of paperwork as deadlines rush towards us, we probably take a moment’s pause to wonder ‘what is my child doing right now?’ Sometimes I do know the answer to that question – I can say ‘she’s probably at her swimming gala or sitting in class.’ But do we really know? There are so many hours in the day and so many of those hours the little humans that are most precious to us are being raised by and cared for by someone else entirely. If, like me, you’re a full time working parent, chances are your child is being cared for by someone else for up to 9 hours a day. I know of parents who drop their children off at school at 6am and fetch them from aftercare close to 6pm. That’s almost 12 hours a day of being away from the people in this world that we love the very most. It’s a painful plight, but unfortunately one that cannot be avoided. Nowadays if we want to climb the career ladder and make a success of ourselves, or even just earn money to survive, unfortunately we have to sacrifice precious time spent with the people we have brought into this world.
Are we held ransom by our jobs? How many hours a day do you spend working? Then it’s a rush to get home, to cook, clean and do the night time routine just to get the children in bed. How many real, proper hours of solid quality time are actually spent with our kids? Who is raising them and what values are they learning without us? Where are they REALLY, whilst we’re drumming a pen on a table in another meeting that’s run half an hour late? We’re doing all this so that we can send them to that school we like, feed them the better cut of meat for dinner and drive them in a safer car with ABS airbags and have money to take them on a holiday at end year that we’re too tired and lazy for, right? But why are we not putting any financial value on our time?
Imagine if we could be coming home an hour earlier, helping our kids with their homework or playing in the garden. Imagine attending all your kids’ school galas and being able to stay home with them from school when they are sick, cuddled on the couch watching movies.
Until then, we will go to jobs that raise our blood pressure to buy things we can’t afford to impress people we don’t like. My suggestion – make the most of the time that you DO have. Even if you are only able to set aside twenty minutes a day, do it. You can take some time in the morning too to chat, drink tea and have some one-on-one time. Set aside those twenty minutes and actually talk to your child, colour in with them, read with them, ask them to help you cook or clean up. Anything that ensures you are getting at least a bit of uninterrupted one on one time with these little people we love so much. On weekends set aside a few hours to do activities that involve just you and your children, no distractions. Sounds easy enough but you’d be surprised how busy weekends can be. Get to know your child, take time to make them feel that they are not fighting for your attention. Hurry, and start doing this now because before you know it they will be all grown up working in rush hour jobs, harried and too busy to spend a few uninterrupted hours with your grandchildren… Let’s show them how important they are, let’s show them balance and how to effectively make time and effort for the people we love. Let’s break the cycle..
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