Guilt. It’s a horrible feeling. I think it comes with the “parent package”. At times I feel terribly guilty for working and then not guilty for not!
However, this guilt comes from a place of assumption. I am assuming that my kids want me home all the time. Knowing the popular phrase “assume making an ass out of you and me” I decided to ask my eldest what she really thought about her Mum and Dad working. Here is her reply!
Hi, you probably know my mum from these blogs. Well she wanted my view on some things, a 10-year-old girl’s view on things.
A lot of parents feel guilty because they are not home when their child gets home from school and has to get a relative or friend to take them home. I had a lot of this when my mum was working at Aston University.
In fact when I was about 2 or 3 my grandparents would have me overnight once a week and many people think that this should not happen but I enjoyed these visits. The first time I started thinking that my friends were different from me was in year 3(7-8 years old) from 2 different situations:
1.My friend has younger sisters and her mother stays at home with just the father working to support their family. Her mother was able to attend all workshops, class assemblies, sports days, whilst it was usually my grandparents who would come.
When I asked my mum about this (both my parents were working at offices this time) she said that Mum and Dad needed to both work to pay all of our bills. Later, I realised if my mum didn’t work we wouldn’t get the privileges we enjoy such being able to buy lots of different ingredients to bake lots of cakes!
2. Once, my mum asked me (after she had come off maternity leave with my sister) how I feel now she is going back to work. I replied saying I was a bit upset because all my friends would have their parents and I would only have my grandparents. Although it did mean I would get to spend more time with my relatives and grandma=sweets and treats.
Three good things about working parents:
1.The children get to spend more time with relatives and they get to know them more; I see my Grandma and Grandpa lots (although now Mum is working for herself, it is less!)
2. The children get a new found responsibility like getting up on time and getting yourself dressed; I also get more responsibility for looking after my sister when Mum needs to work and we are at home.
3. I want to have kids when I grow up, so watching my Mum and Dad shows me all of the choices I have for jobs and working different hours.
Three bad things about working parents:
1. The children don’t get to spend as much time with you and you can’t be there for all the school activities, although I know they try!
2. I have to “share” Mum and Dad with other things
3. I can notice when Mum and Dad are stressed at work; they are more grumpy and short tempered when they are at home
My three pieces of advice to ALL Mums and Dads that work
- When you are at home, BE AT HOME. Leave work at work and only think about your family when you are at home.
- Don’t worry about work. There are lots of things you can do. Your children believe in you!
- If you love your job then enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying yourself. Live in the moment.
I believe parents should all ask their children how they really feel instead of just assuming. So, go on, ask your children how they feel today! It may surprise you!
There we go, there are a few surprises in there for me and will defining working on being more present for my two. Ask your kids their thoughts and hop along to the private group to share their constructive feedback!