I apologize in advance if this post hurts anyone’s feelings, but I’ve been ruminating about it for some time. The purpose of my writing this is not to insult, but rather, to raise awareness and sensitivity.
What a lucky, lucky, lucky bunch of women we are — to have husbands/partners who actively support our leisure pursuits, to have jobs with flexible hours (some part time, some not), to have children who understand Mom needs to spend time on herself (running/exercising daily, date nights with Dad, and girls’ night outs, etc.).
I wonder if we have any single mothers reading our blog, or mom’s who are trying to “balance” getting to work and grocery shopping by bus (because they can’t afford a car), who don’t belong to a gym or have basements where their treadmill is. How about the moms who don’t have family who can or will babysit? How about the moms whose electricity is turned off because she can’t afford to pay the bill? Let’s face it, in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we’ve won the lottery.And, while I’m on this soapbox: Frankly, to me, the mom who strives to better her life by taking time away from her kids to take a night class in the hope of achieving a high school diploma or college degree somehow feels more noble than the mom who chooses to spend time away from her kids for other, more selfish reasons. [Don’t get mad, keep reading please.]
Yes, we should be role models for taking care of our minds and bodies — but we should also be role models as parents who want to spend time with our kids. If our children don’t feel they are getting enough of our time and attention they feel it. Depending on their individual needs/personalities and how much time they have with you (time when they are and are not your focus — both are important!), they may internalize they are not as important as other things in your life. In some children this realization creates independence; in others, it creates insecurity. I’m going to say it out loud: The endless and often mindless job of mothering can be boring and repetitive. Nonetheless it is one of the singularly most important jobs we can have.
I went to a scholarship luncheon at the Town and County Club in Hartford this week. Nine women of varying ages were awarded relatively modest cash awards to assist them in pursuing their baccalaureate degrees. Each of their stories was heart-rending. Two things stood out to me at the end of the program. 1) The gratitude each recipient expressed — for both the recognition signified by the award and the small financial helping hand — seemed out of proportion to what each of them received; and 2) Each of them acknowledged their mothers’ unwavering faith and allegiance despite wrong turns and choices they may have made before getting to the point of higher education. They gave personal testimonies about how loving and responsible mothers make a life-changing difference.
What is the right balance of seeking and supplying what we need along with what our children and partners need? I think it is different for every family, spouse, and child.
I acknowledge as the writer of a post about over-parenting there is a spectrum of being under- and over-involved in our children’s lives. But please remember as we write about the struggle of “finding balance” — we start off in our “struggle” with so many advantages.
Let’s not forget this is the case.
Latest posts by Candace Fitzpatrick (see all)
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