I read an interesting article in the paper a few weeks ago about working moms. A study was mentioned that really drove home the point (to me anyway) that our kids absolutely need us to engage with them on a deeper level than we probably are.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Several years ago, Ellen Galinsky, president of Families and Work Institute, a non-profit research center that studies the changes in workplace, family and community organized a study where they asked 1,023 children from 8- to 18-years-old what they would change about how their parents’ work affected their lives.
Thirty-four percent of kids wished that their mothers could be less stressed and tired when they came home, and 27.5 percent wished the same for their dads. Yet only 2 percent of parents guessed that their children would make that wish, instead guessing that their children would wish for more time with the parent.
“We’re really focused on should she or shouldn’t she (work),” Galinksy said. “(But we’re) not focused on what (she’s) like when (she) walks in that door from work.”
“Overall, the research reveals that what matters most is how children are parented,” she continued. “It’s who the mother is as a person, not that she works, that tends to have more of an impact on children.
Whether or not we work outside the home is a completely different subject. Regardless, it is who we are that really counts, ladies. Who we are even when we’re tired and cranky. Who we are when we don’t think we have an ounce of patience left. Who we are when, regardless of how we feel at the moment, our kids just need us to love them a little tighter for 5 more minutes. That’s what our kids care about.
So who are you? Who are you underneath the many roles you play and the many masks you wear? And who are you when you’re engaging with your kids? Are you really engaging with them, or are you placating them with food, toys, and other distractions instead of really listening to them and/or addressing their concerns?
I don’t have any answers tonight. In fact, I’m not sure I’m ready to know them quite yet. For now, it’s time for me to be present in my bed, embrace the sleep that I hope will come very soon, and let my subconscious come up with answers for tomorrow.
Sweet dreams, my friends.