If you’ve spent absolutely ANY time watching television shows or movies, you’ll be able to name a show or movie that usually involves a harassed, overworked parent who is normally some kind of high-ranking executive or employee, stretched thin over very little time. Despite their success, this parent usually has no time for their spouse and children, missing all the important hallmarks of life while running around like a chicken with its head cut off before discovering the importance of happiness and being there for one’s family over having a career. Such fantasies usually play out by showing the mother or father quitting their big job, usually in some dramatic fashion, to go home and BE with their family.
The problem with this scenario is that although the harassed, overworked parent scenario definitely exists, suddenly walking out on one’s job because they’ve realized the important things in life is simply not a realistic idea. Outside of the big or small screen, a smooth-running household requires income, which can usually only be achieved by maintaining gainful employment. And if you have a house with a mortgage, bills, debts and dependents to take care of, it’s not a simple matter of just having part time employment so you can spend more time at home. So as romanticized as the idea is, it’s not something that should actually happen and there will usually be at least one parent in the household who will have to miss out on important activities in favour of being at work.
That’s why I’m extremely grateful that my job and my position allow me the flexibility to be absent on occasion. Last week, my son Nathan brought home an invitation to parents to attend his school on Friday morning for a muffin and juice while reading a book. At first, I explained to my wife that I would need to be at work by virtue of the meetings I had scheduled for that morning. I believe she initially had intentions of going herself with our toddler, Alexander. But when asked, Nathan didn’t really seem jazzed about having us there. My first thought is that he assumed he wouldn’t have to read a book if neither of us went. He’s sneaky like that.
As I thought about it, I realized that Nathan may come to feel awkward if he realizes that he’s among one of the few who don’t have a parent who showed up. It’s one thing if one’s parents genuinely can’t be there for some reason but I thought it might be better for me to attend. This would prevent our toddler from being dragged out of the house, early in the morning and opening the gates of hell inside the school. He isn’t conducive to the “quiet time“ one needs to be in a reading environment. As a result, I got my boss’ approval to take a few hours off on Friday morning and I stayed home, got dressed and walked to school with Nathan and we read three books together in the school gymnasium while the kids all enjoyed muffins and juice.
It was a nice activity to share with him. It was also nice seeing all the families that had gathered to do the same. There were many flavours of muffin to choose from but of course, Nathan had to choose the one with chocolate in it. The comfy mats on the floor were all taken up, so we sat on a bench and managed to get through three books before our time was up. I noticed the school also had some of teachers taking photos of us for their social media pages. I’m assuming my unshaven mug has shown up somewhere. But it was worth it. I left Nathan at school for the remainder of his day and headed in to work. I was grateful and happy that I was able to put things on hold to be there for him. I think he was happy with that, as well.
It’s true what they say that life short. As time passes and our children grow, being able to share in their special events becomes all the more important, especially when one considers that one never knows how much time they have left. And although something like sitting and reading a book may seem menial to an adult, to my son, it’ll be the memory of the time his father came to school with him and spent time with him. He got to show me some of his projects that were posted on the school’s bulletin board, pointed out some friends and was quite happy that I was there, which in turn made me happy. Maybe quitting one’s job in a dramatic fashion isn’t possible. But it’s still possible and a good idea to make an effort to be there. ☯️
One thought on “Kids Cause The Darnedest Things…”
More than the “family first” movies you mentioned, I’m “amused” by the rare ones that have the spouse royally mad afterwards because they no longer have the lavish lifestyle now that the quitter isn’t working 12 hours a day anymore. Probably a little closer to the truth with much of today’s society. 😀
Nice that you have a job that gives you that kind of flexibility and understanding though. Hopefully Nathan appreciates it now. If not, he will in the future. 😉