Ease Your Working Parent Guilt: What I’ve Learned Being Part-Time
So many full-time working parents daydream about what it would be like to have more time with their kids. It weighs heavy on the parent conscience, and with that comes the ever familiar feeling of guilt. We envision all of the activities, memories, and bonding experiences we could be having with our children were it not for the hours we have to put in at the office or on our lengthy commutes. I know these feelings and daydreams intimately, because I was full-time and working outside of the home 8 short months ago. In fact, one of my favorite cubicle daydreams consisted of me surprising my kids after school, their arms in hug mode, sprinting over to me, with toothy grins painted on their faces, pumped for whatever plan of action I had for that day.
These feelings of guilt would visit me on the regular while sitting in my cubicle or while in the car muddling my way through traffic each morning. That’s why shortly after I decided to resign, I was punch drunk at the notion that I would get more time with my sons. About a month later, I accepted a part-time position, with a lot of flexibility, and a family friendly approach to the work day. While working part-time and at home, I’ve come to realize my fantasies about all the extra bonding, all the new memories we’d be making, and all of the overflowing happiness the kids would be feeling, were actually just that-fantasies. I came to the realization that our quality time together is truly predicated on these three things: current mood, agenda, and the chosen activity.
For us parents, it’s fulfilling and satisfying to have all of this extra time with our kids. But when examining the kids and their take on it, there’s a lesson there that I hope will help squander those lingering feelings of guilt for other working parents. My hope is that after you read my experience, it will allow for some peace to push aside those feelings of guilt.
More than likely, you’re familiar with the saying quality over quantity. That phrase applies as a good anecdote for many things in life; food, friends, clothing, shoes, etc. Believe it or not, it also applies to how you spend your time with your children. Quality time spent with your kids over the quantity of time you’re spending with them is really what’s at the center of my observation…