Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why I Think a Working Parents Support Group Would Be a Good Idea

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The BabbyDaddy was a little sad last night. Somehow we started talking about how the Babby will only be with us - as in, living under our roof, with us as her main comforters and providers - for a relatively short period in her life and our lives. It got all tied into working parent schedules. He thought about the whole thing for a little bit, then said "And I will only have seen her for about two hours a day for most of that time."

Then he said something else: "But I'm happy that you're lucky enough to get to spend more time with her."

Which naturally just broke my heart into a thousand itty-bitty pieces. Because as much as I complain about being a working parent, I am luckier than a lot of working parents in that I get at least a few daylight hours with my child. Even if they are the crankiest of all daylight hours.

See, there I go again.

I don't always feel particularly lucky. My brain likes to remind me that it wasn't supposed to be this way. Sure, I never really imagined myself not working, but the work I pictured myself doing was nebulous and very part time and, most importantly, done from home while imaginary children skipped around me. Or better yet, were napping contentedly in their beds.A

It didn't work out that way past the two year mark. For a lot reasons I've gone into before.

But I'm also not working 9-6 in Boston and I do get more time with the Babby than her poor papa, who sometimes has just a half hour with her before the bedtime routine turns her all persnickety. Sure, in a couple of years, the Babby will be off to school and then those hours will belong to teachers and books and possibly also homework so maybe it won't matter as much. Which of course, makes me think that all the lost hours and days now somehow matter even more.

No matter how you slice it, working parents - dads and moms - miss out on a lot. A lot of milestones. A lot of questions and hugs and eye opening learning moments. A lot of kissed booboos and wiped tears. A lot of growth and discovery and change.

People chuckle at the idea of having a working parents support group, but I think it's an idea that a lot more working parents would jump on if they didn't think they'd get mocked for it.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. Profound. And so true. I was blessed as a single parent to have Alpha Son's first 10 months before I had to go to work, then from age 11 onward until he graduated. I think most working parents would much rather have that time with their children but society makes it seem shameful to want that. I know when I got to come home I was mocked (i.e., at-home parent jokes w/a tinge of sarcasm). You'd think we'd have evolved past that. Great post!

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  2. I started (and still continue to run) a working parents group in my county. It has about 20 very active members, and 60 random people who participate occasionally. But it's really nice to have a message board and community that supports you on Facebook and wherever else we see each other virtually. Though I'm currently at home, I understand the way working parents feel, and I hope to be working again soon, though I know how much I will miss of my #2 growing up. You should definitely start a support group locally!!

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  3. I think that is a great idea. I sometimes miss working, but then I read posts like this that remind me that I am so lucky to have all the hours I do,with my daughter.

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