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Whose Job Is It, Anyway?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is a quote I just took off of one of my favourite blogs:

"I completely and violently disagree with this concept of ‘weekend parenting’. Parenting, in my humble opinion, is not just about hanging out with the kids and having a great time – that is what they have friends for. And I am of the firm view that I am not interested in being Ayaan’s friend (at least not until he has become an adult in every sense of the word) – my job is to be his mother." -Rohini, Mama Says So
Rohini, a full-time working mom, was writing in response to an article about "weekend parenting," a new trend emerging in the middle class in India. Sadly, it's a trend that has been in existence here for years, whether it has been called by that name or not.

I pity the parents who do not feel that it is important to participate in their children's daily lives. "Quality time" is what happens at the most unexpected moments of "quantity time."

Today, on the way home from our walk, Jude came out with one of his "Did you know...?" questions.

"Mom, did you know that bats eat mosquitoes? And flies?"

"Yep, you're right."

"What else do they eat?"

"You know what, I'm not exactly sure. Why don't we look it up?"

We were approaching our front yard, so we went right into the house and looked up bats in a Childcraft book on animals. It gave us a brief overview, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Jude--he wanted to look them up on the internet, too. So Wikipedia was our next resource, where we learned all kinds of things about bats, including the fact that they are viviparous, like humans. This reminded me that Jude has asked several times lately about how babies come out of people, so while we were on Wikipedia, I looked up the "pregnancy" entry and was able to show him diagrams of a baby growing in utero, and explain how when the baby got big enough, the mommy pushed it out through the vagina. He was amazed at how small babies start out, and how weird they looked at first. Then he asked me a few questions about when he was a baby. Finally, he felt like he was satisfied for the moment, and we went to make some sandwiches for lunch.

This is only one "quality" moment of many that hide in the quantity of moments in my day where only a parent will do. For instance, I teach my children the Alphabet Song or other "educational" songs by singing it to them while I brush their teeth. An alternative caregiver, or even a well-trained teacher, cannot replace having a parent involved in their children's lives day in and day out, who cares way more than anyone else about what their child learns, what attitudes they have and who wants to keep their love of learning and curiosity alive.
E.g. Jason and I believe that talking about having a baby is NOT taboo for a five-year-old, but some people may have been uncomfortable answering that question for someone else's child the way I did for my own.

Also, how can one hope to correct anything they see that they don't like about their children in two days on a weekend?

If all a parent wanted was a hobby and a tax deduction, start a home-based network marketing business. There are plenty of "daily" parents who would love to share their kids with you for a few hours on the weekend so you can get your "kid fix." But those are the parents who are NOT willing to give up their rights to train their own children 98% of the time.

Thank you, Rohini, for your thoughtful post on this subject. I hope that it will help some of your readership re-evaluate their own priorities.

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3 comments

  1. Hey thanks for taking up the subject. As a working mom, I always struggle for quantity and probably can't be there to catch every moment as it happens but the thought of not even being able to make the time to spend a few dedicated hours with my son an almost-daily basis would freak me out...

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  2. Hey Talena,
    I agree completely, which is why I do not see myself ever being a mother... I think it is unfair to the child if the parents do not have time for the child and see the child only at night etc. If I ever had a child I would want to be at home and being as career oriented as I am, I know I will never be able to do that! Me and my siblings have been very lucky to always have mum there... even now (on the phone)!

    (Hi, Rohini!)

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  3. Rohini - I think you're doing the best you can, and that's all you can do, right? You're time with him may be somewhat limited by working, but you make the most of the time you do have, and that's the important thing.

    Ace - I'm glad you know thyself...
    Point to ponder, though: in your older age, will you be happy with your life choice of putting a career in front of having a family? Some people are, but I just want to make sure you've thought about that.

    You can always have a career later, right? You have your kids at home for, what, twenty years? Then you've got another, say, fifty or so years to do something else? Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame started his bazillion-dollar franchise at the age of 65.

    No pressure, but just so you know, being a mom is great. And I know that I'll have plenty to do with my time when my kids are grown, because I've got some pretty big projects in mind for that time of my life already. Empty nest? Pffft!

    Okay, commercial for "mom-ism" is over.

    ReplyDelete

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