True confession: sometimes I like to read posts with parent confessions like this one and treat them like a kind of ‘never have I ever game’ in my head.
- Never have I ever change the clocks so I could put my kid to bed early (although I admire the wisdom of this);
- Never have I ever frozen store made cupcakes to pass off as my own;
- Never have I ever run out of diapers and used a maxi pad.
Still, I do have my own confessions. I can’t say:
- Never have I ever hidden chocolate so I don’t have to share;
- Never have I ever taken a bit longer to run an errand so I have some time to myself;
- Never have I ever tried to multitask and missed something my kid or hubby has said.
There is a reason why work-life balance is now a thing. As this article from Today’s Parent explains, despite the laissez-faire attitude in which most Generation X children were raised (how many of us were left unattended in cars, sent outside to play until the street lights came on and walked to school without adult supervision from a very young age), as parents we are far more hands on.
We would cringe at the thought of leaving a child in the car while we ran in to a store even for a second (of course, we have also seen stories where children overheat in cars). We are leery about leaving our kids play outside (of course, we have are aware of the many dangers that lurk outside). And we often drive or at least walk our children to school (of course, we have seen too many stories of children being taken).
While this kind of hands on parenting has influenced the relationships between parents and children, it also places more demands on parents’ time. As a result, there are a plethora of blogs, books and articles providing suggestions about how to balance work and family. Today this is true for mothers and fathers.
There are overlaps in the suggestions including:
- creating a calendar to track who needs to be where when;
- getting a good babysitter/good daycare – here is an excellent place where grandparents can be helpful (especially if you share with them this research which suggests that babysitting grandchildren could lower risk for Alzheimer’s);
- and making time for personal, meaningful activities.
Every individual and every family will have its own practices that seek to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to engage in meaningful activities while supporting family relationships. Time is precious. What do you do that is meaningful in your family? What suggestions would you have for those who may be struggling or new to this journey? What confessions are you willing to share about the shortcuts you may take to balance life? We would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments.
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