It's hard for me to imagine that being a parent in that scenario can possibly be fulfilling or fun. Kids want play, kids want their mommy, kids need help with their homework, kids leave messes, kids need healthy homecooked meals, etc. In short, does the existence of a working family with children, in your experience, sound as zombie-like as it does on the surface? Is there anything you'd like to change about the situation? Almost every single day for me, no matter how frustrated, annoyed, irritated or ready to scream I am (and this could be because of work or family or finances or anything), there is this moment, where one of my kids comes up to me and says or does something and I realize: "Oh, yeah, right. This is why." As for the rest: Kids want play: Yup. And it often reminds me that I do too. I learned this weekend that my four year old can whip my butt in Wii Bowling. Kids want their mommy: Yup. And that snuggle time, or book time, or whatever, is usually the most contented part of my day. Kids need help with their homework: Yup. And it never ceases to amaze me what the big one is learning now. It also sometimes drives me crazy. But net-net, it's working out. Kids leave messes: I do too. And maybe I've been lucky, but not so much as you might think. OR, I have very low standards of mess? Kids need healthy homecooked meals: They do? They need healthy. It doesn't have to be homecooked, and it doesn't have to be cooked at all, sometimes. Last night, DS1 had PB&J on whole wheat bread with milk and sliced raw red pepper (his favorite), and DS2 had ham and cheese rolled up on a plate with milk, pretzels and strawberries. Is it hard? Absolutely. The other thing that does it for me, that I could not do without, is that my kids don't just want their mommy. My husband does at least half (and sometimes more) of the work, and always has, because we both work. He helps them get dressed. He usually makes DS1 breakfast before school (the little one eats at daycare). We split laundry, cleaning, and virtually everything else. We switch off who puts them to bed, etc. It's not a formal "It was my turn last time." But I have never felt that the bulk of the child care or decisions rested on me, and that if I didn't do it, no one would. Without that, I don't think my life would be nearly as happy as I am today. But that was very important to me, and something we discussed before kids. Also, I don't live to work - I work to live. It's important to me that I be making an income, and I carry the benefits for our household. But I'm not a high-powered career-driven person. I am very into stability and security, but work-life balance is critical to me, and it was before kids too. GSF
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