There comes that inevitable time during parenting that you feel like a failure (for most of us that happens a few times each day). However, my four year old recently reminded me that I’m not as perfect at parenting as I sometimes think I am.
You see, I spend a lot of time with our daughter … a lot (by other parenting standards). And, it’s getting ready to increase because I’m going to dive into homeschooling her after Christmas. However, what I think is a lot of time apparently doesn’t equate to quality time in her eyes.
To say that we have a non-traditional life at our house is an understatement. Our daughter has two parents who work from home offices, so she doesn’t know about parents being gone to a traditional nine-to-five office job. Nope, we’re always around. (How annoying, right?)
Since my schedule is more flexible (I can plan my business dealings around my daughter’s schedule), you find me working at weird times and weird intervals. This means there’s not a lot of “family time” where the husband, the kid and I are doing things together. It may sound weird, or even sad to you, but I assure you that my daughter has plenty of quality time doing cool things with at least one of us most of the time. However, there are those times when I have to work and the husband is working and (embarrassingly) the TV is the babysitter.
A few days ago on a Saturday, I was working in my office and the husband was in another room and the kid was doing … kid stuff somewhere. After a while, my four year old came in and asked me to do something with her. I let her know that I had a project that I needed to finish and it would have to wait.
“Why is everyone in different rooms doing their own thing?” she tsked as she said it and walked away.
With a guilt that only other parents can understand, I stopped what I was doing to explain to her again how my working at unusual times allows me to make time for her when other “normal parents” can’t make time for their kids. Off she went, unscathed, but that one little sentence plagued me for days.
However, the seriousness of it didn’t hit me until the next night when the daughter came in to get me (as I was working) so she would have someone to sit with her at the table as she ate dinner … alone. (Yes, I feel the judgments you are making right now … every single one of them.)
It was then that I looked at my husband and said, “We suck.”
I still feel like crap.
Image: Stuart Miles