After years and years of parents not spending enough time with their children, we are seeing a backlash (only in certain cases) of parents not “working” in front of their children.   For many, many parents, this is not a problem as their children see them working all the time, but for some parents, they have let the pendulum swing too far in one direction and that can be damaging for the child. It manifests itself as:

  • I will wait until the children go to bed to clean the house, or I won’t clean the house at all.
  • I won’t make a phone call or use my phone in front of my children (there’s a lot of guilt surrounding this one especially after the viral post about moms on the phone came out)
  • I won’t go back to school because I don’t want to take that time away from my children
  • I will hire cleaners, personal chefs, lawn-mowers, etc to do the work

Parents have a lot of guilt around how much time they spend with their children.  We’ve all heard that saying about the one regret we had before dying was working too much and not spending enough time with our kids.   This rings true for any parent who is working 60 hours per week and then taking home work as well.  I’m not talking to those parents because I know how hard that is.  I tried it and it didn’t work for me, for my husband, for my kids or for my work.

I’m talking to parents who work part-time, work from home or are stay at home parents.  

I’m talking to parents who have guilt around doing work while their kids entertain themselves, or sit in a bouncy chair or do whatever while the parent gets things done. 

There are sweet sentiments out there about spending more time with you child and less time working on things around the house. If you aren’t spending anytime with your child, then it is a good reminder.  But if it is keeping you from getting things done and it is keeping your kids from seeing you work, then throw it away and find some balance.

This means that the kids are watching you do the laundry after breakfast, instead of everyone going and playing together in the backyard.

This means that the kids are sitting on the counter while you prepare dinner.

This means that you are relaxing with your husband after the children have gone to bed rather than doing all the housework.

This means taking an important phone call and reminding the kids that they need to wait a minute while you do a bit of work.

This means talking about how mom and dad work hard to take care of the family and that’s how we earn money to buy our food and our house.

This means talking about how we take care of each other and that means sweeping the floor after eating cereal, taking out the garbage all together, putting the dirty laundry in the washer, emptying the dishes, cutting the vegetables, etc.

This means that you find balance in a crazy world of parenting, and don’t spend all your days and nights working, but don’t leave all your work for when the children are sleeping.

This means children will understand that people have purpose in a family, that clothes need to be washed and how to wash them, that food doesn’t come from a box and that money doesn’t grow on trees.  Obviously, having them work with you and eventually on their own is the logical path that they will follow.   But this is the first step, it’s an important step- let them see you work!