For working parents, the beginning of the new school year carries a mixed bag of emotions. Parents are both happy and sad to see this day come. Happy in that the concern of “what is happening while I’m at work” is put to rest; sad in that, perhaps, you didn’t get all the “fun” that you’d anticipated in May.
When my girls were young, the beginning of summer held such promise – In my head, I would plan to take them to the zoo, museums, pool, and parks. We certainly got some of it accomplished, but I always felt like it should have been more … mostly, more days of just doing NOTHING but listening to their animated chatter and giggles.
Those days are dear and fleeting. Now my daughters are young women with families of their own. And the years go by so fast; one day they are in knee socks waiting on the bus at the end of the driveway, and the next day they are unloading their baby out of the car seat. And that baby gives you a big toothless grin or says, GRANDMA, LET’s GO! … and you think, “I really need to spend more time with this little person before they are in college.”
I have always been a working mother — and a single working mother at that — dedicated to my profession, adamant regarding the equality of women. I did not have the luxury of pricy day camp options or nannies to ensure my children’s well being. I relied on my mom to supervise when I could not, and between the two of us, I have to say, we turned out some pretty terrific young women.
And in the end, regardless of your position in the workforce (or really, whether you are a mom or a dad), your children are your real legacy. These are the most cherished, important assignments you will ever have.
As we begin the new school year, I’d encourage working parents to make a little “internal promise” to give your children more attention than your smart phone or laptop. Become engaged. Connect. These are the days you’ll remember. Make the most of them.