Striking a Balance
Being a parent in the 21st century is not easy. The demands placed upon parents are ever increasing with the pressure of work and family life, which can become a source of stress when trying to do everything at once. The conundrum is the same for many. How do we meet the demands of life with all of its many complexities whilst still being what we consider to be “good”parents? The answer is not simple, and if anyone says that they do have it all figured out then I take my hat off to them but I myself find it a very real challenge. I think that the expectations our society has for what a parent should do has completely changed from days gone by when my parents were parents (they still are parents but you know what I mean). My parents generation also had to balance work, home, children etc but I don’t believe there was the same view back then that when you get home from a long day at work you need to be able to engage in quality play interactions with your kids after you have cooked the dinner, cleaned up and helped them do their homework to boot. In fact I don’t remember my parents ever joining me in play after they got home from work and even my weekends were filled with either entertaining myself or being off with my friends having a kick about at the park. For some people they may recall different memories to mine and may have spent lots of time with their parents having quality interactions but it still feels as though back then parents were viewed in society as being the providers of the child’s basic needs and this was enough. Anything parents did over and above this would have been seen as exemplary rather than the expected norm. Today however I feel the pressure as a parent to be ready and available mentally and otherwise to my children when I step into my house after a long work day. Don’t get me wrong I love being with my boys and nothing warms my heart more than to receive the swamping of their cuddles as soon as I get through the door. But I am aware that there is a need to balance how much of me I give to other aspects of my busy life so that there is still enough left for my children to get from me. This is not always easy and that is without even bringing my wife into the equation. But that is a whole new topic for another time!