This is the question parents will inevitably face, how far is too far when it comes to your children… when it means giving up a big promotion? Not taking the weekend trip to Hawaii with your boss? When you have to take on a few extra hours? Work a Saturday? Be “on call”
With a two parents working household being the norm to keep families afloat financially, we all face that point where we begin to wonder; is our job taking a bigger role than our children are in our lives… and if it is, is that okay?
Experts offer little advice. Parents are important in the formative years of their children, but really, does it matter if your child spends a few extra hours at day care, a friends house or with your own parents?
When it comes down to it, it will inevitably have to be your choice. What you do need to do is listen to your children. You can’t be there for them all the time, but there may be certain aspects of your relationship they value that you may never have expected. Whether that’s eating dinner together, that you’re at their soccer games, or that you’re the one to tuck them in to bed, sometimes you need to meet these needs not only to keep the peace, but to keep your children productive for the future.
If you need to work extra hours, try to do them during a time frame where your child is otherwise preoccupied if possible. You should also talk to them about how they feel when you miss key activities you’ve managed to be there for in the past, you know how it’s affecting them.
But really, do you need to come home for dinner every night if that means going back to work at the office for a few hours after? With money tight, can you afford the gas?
Something most good parents know, is that at any age, children are fairly understanding… sometime only of compromise, but they certainly get it, especially as they get older.
If you can’t make it home for dinner, be up front with your child that’s the possibility. If they know when you can and can’t be there, that may very well provide them with the quality of stability they need, without harming the possibility of you continuing to bring home that much needed pay check from a demanding job.