Spirit & Parenting
To work or not to work, that is the question. Actually we all work, whether at home or out of the home. This is a very complex issue in our society and getting many views on the subject is valuable and worthwhile, but what it really comes down to is how you need to deal with this issue. Since it isn't possible to know you or your circumstances, it would be best to just relate some thoughts about working and parenting that have come to make sense to me in my experience of parenting and caring for young children.
First of all, let's remember, or if you haven't thought about it a lot, let's consider, why you became a parent. Even if you did not consciously choose to become a parent, you have been chosen. So what now? Parenting involves sacrifice as well as blessings. Get your priorities aligned in your heart and mind. Have faith that you will know what is needed and that you can find a lifestyle that works for you and your family.
In general, having someone in the family or household available for child care or keeping the home is optimal. Despite advances in time saving devices, having someone to "keep" the home is very beneficial, especially when children are involved. Cooking, shopping, budgeting, cleaning, washing, organizing, and caring are worthwhile and important work. Of course, these jobs can be done by one person, or divided, but they do need to be done.
Whether one adult in the family or household cares for the home and children, or if it is divided, or if some of it is hired out, consider the following:
- Remember, working costs money too. Taxes, clothes, time available, extra car, time saving devices, child care and easy to prepare food cost you when you work outside of the home.
- The latest studies have shown that the amount of time spent with your child is just as important as the quality of time spent. Children learn a lot by observation.
- There are many books and articles out now about simplifying life. (Hey do we really need all the stuff that we buy?)
- Do you really want others raising your children? (Some people would say yes, and that's ok.)
On the other hand:
- Perhaps you have work that you are passionate about and cannot be done at home.
- Maybe there is a part of you that needs to be the "provider".
- It is true that many of us truly need to work outside the home in order to pay the bills.
- Or perhaps you need lots of financial security to feel ok.
Hopefully you had been able to consider these things before having children and know your priorities. If not, it is a very good idea to do this whenever you can. Often it needs to be done more than once.
As a parent interested in spiritual parenting you may feel you need to be with your children as much as possible and that is admirable. But remember that spiritual parenting is not being and doing everything for your child. It is important to allow children to learn for themselves and to become more and more independent as they grow and learn. Their lessons aren't necessarily the same as yours. They need (and you need) space and time as individual beings. If you start needing your child to need you, it might be good to take a step back and look at the "whole" picture.
Raising children spiritually means their growing and becoming complete beings, who are ready (sooner than you think) to be in charge of their own lives. In the perspective of community, it means raising children that become caring, thoughtful, and purposeful adults.
No matter how it seems, no one really "has it all". Life is "perfect" in that we bring to ourselves the lessons we need to learn. (Take my word for it, parenting is a powerful teacher). It may mean that your child will be cared for by others, which almost always happens to some extent. It is the parent's work to try to provide as best you can for the security and growth of your children, however others may be just as important in your child's growth. Next time, we'll talk about childcare.