Link to a short video clip from Good Morning America
Many working parents are constantly assessing the way they spend their time. Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, is no different. He recently told Michael Strahan on Good Morning America that he thinks about the tradeoffs related to many of his decisions. You can view Brady's comments about family starting at 3:14 in this short video.
When our kids were little, every single time my husband announced, "I'm going for a run", our son would ask, "Daddy come back?" We thought this was hilarious; mostly because life was really hectic at the time, and while the thought of not returning when we left the house had never occurred to us, it did contain a certain level of appeal on some days.
Interestingly, I don't remember either child being upset when we left the house or left them somewhere. They just wanted to understand when we'd be back. Maybe we were lucky. Or maybe they reflected our attitudes that outings like daycare, school, and trips were fun. It was probably a combination of luck and attitudes. And while I wish we could take full credit for the ease with which they handled transitions, I realize in hindsight that both kids seemed innately eager to "get out there" and experience the activities we described to them and they read about in books.
Some working parents describe sad scenes when it comes to business travel and daycare. They tell stories that include tears and angst. It has me wondering if the kids might be reflecting their parents' feelings. It's possible that my own kids may have looked forward to having one of us leave on a business trip since it usually meant a change in routine that could be fun; like pancakes for dinner or a little less attention (and more freedom) as the "single parent" left behind struggled to "survive".
Either way, it may be worth asking yourself if your child's tears and fears stem from your own behavior. I don't remember my own dad traveling for work very often, but when he did, it was exciting for all of us. Not only did he return with stories of faraway places, but he brought gifts; tiny bars of soup and teeny weeny bottles of shampoo. At some point in my childhood I vowed to go to college so that I could get a job that allowed me to travel and collect these prizes for myself. I learned early on that business travel is exciting, and if I worked hard, I'd be able to experience it for myself one day.
Yesterday I heard a parent on the radio explain that she left her career because her employer wouldn't give her the flexibility she needed as a parent. Given that I had the radio on for about 90 seconds, I didn't hear what she said before she made that comment, and I heard very little afterward, but it left me wondering; did her spouse also need to leave his career? And if not, why not? Is it possible that her spouse wasn't helping to provide the flexibility she needed to continue her career? Or maybe she didn't want to truly share parental responsibilities with him.
Sometimes it seems like people are looking for reasons to avoid pursuing a career instead of ways to make it work.
If you sincerely want to pursue a career and parenthood, you may find the stories we publish helpful.
Inspired by an interview published on Forbes.com
Founder and editor of the web site mater mea (which means "my mother" in Latin), Anthonia Akitunde, was recently featured by Forbes.com. The article, which is based on an interview conducted by Stephanie Newman, highlighted some "hidden joys of working mothers". These joys will be familiar to many working parents.
Here is a sampling of them.
Some parents aren't encouraged to share stories about the joy they get from their work. Thanks for talking about it, Anthonia and Stephanie!
Commentary on a Harvard Business Review article by Kate Weisshar
A recent Harvard Business Review article by Kate Weisshaar reported that parents (both moms and dads) who took time off from their careers to stay home with their children full-time are less likely to be interviewed for open positions than working parents who were laid off from their previous positions and out of work for the same length of time.
The article, which generated some emotionally charged reader comments, makes a case for juggling career and parenting responsibilities, if setting an example for your children via your career is important to you.
Pointer to a TODAY show video
When our kids were little I worried when I had to take long business trips because I feared that it wasn't good for them to have me gone for more than a few days. Now that they're grown, I know that those fears were silly, and I can see that there were many ways that those trips actually made me a better parent.
Those thoughts recently re-surfaced as I watched a short video from NBC's TODAY show recently. It highlighted the anchors' two-week separations from their families, espeically kids, while they were in South Korea covering the Olympics, and it showed their homecomings too.
Working parents whose jobs require them to travel will probably be able to relate to the stories they tell. (And older working parents will be able to relate to the differences between returning to babies and toddlers vs. teenagers :)