“It is essential, no matter how stressed or tired we are, that we rise above those feelings to let our children know that we have an infinite reserve of energy to be used for love and discipline on their behalf. We can never be too tired or too distracted to serve as parents.” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach – Shalom in the Home
How many hours do you spend in direct communication or activity with your children each day? How many hours per day are your children with a caregiver other than their mother or father? The problem with mothers and fathers having high-dollar careers is that those careers demand 40-80 hours per week of mom and dad’s time – which is 40-80 hours per week their children are not receiving time and attention from mom and dad.
When Nadya Suleman, aka The Octomom, gave birth to octuplets, the media threw her under the bus when it was revealed that she was a single mother already raising six other children. Our society screamed “How will this woman give proper attention to 14 children all by herself?” The answer is: She can’t. And neither can a day care center. The average day care center ratio is 1 adult to 12 children. The Octomom’s ratio is 1 to 14. Not much of a difference. If your child attends a day care center more than 6 hours per day, five days per week, she is not receiving the essential direct communication from an adult that is needed to develop into a confident, well-adjusted adult.
Also, after you have worked an 8, 10, 12-hour day, how much energy and patience do you have at the end of the day to give your kids? Not much, right? By working fewer hours, you not only provide your children with more one-on-one time, but you also have much more energy to invest in them when you are spending time with them. It is a lose/lose situation when you are at work all day and they are with a caregiver all day – but it is a win/win situation when you can spend more quality time with your family.
Best-selling author Stephen R. Covey says, “Just think about it: The average child spends seven hours a day watching TV and five minutes with Dad. Unbelievable! If we had it to do over, we would put a higher priority on our family, on these children – particularly when they were little. We would have made a greater investment.”
Thanks to corporate America slowly but surely supporting work/life balance and the ability for more jobs to be conducted remotely, there has never been a better time than now to ask your employer to be home when the kids step off the bus or ask to work from home. Patrick Snow, author of Creating Your Own Destiny, says “Your job should be nothing more than a vehicle which allows you to accomplish your goals and dreams in life.” If your job is not a good vehicle to have a flexible schedule and give your children the time and attention they need, then it’s time to look for a new job.