I hardly saw my children today.
It gave me an insight into life as a parent working long hours, seeing their children briefly in the morning before school drop-off and then getting back past their bed-time.
I had about half an hour with my son before my Mum took over and I was back out working again until 9.30pm. I am contracted to do 10 hours a week, so it does mean that I have done most of my hours in one day. But this is the daily reality for some parents working ‘compressed’ hours, where they either leave early before their children wake-up or get home late after bed-time, in some cases not seeing their children at all during the week. A family member has been forced to do that because she was raising too many eyebrows returning home ‘early’. The increase in salary on compressed hours is also too good to miss.
But time with your children is too good to miss and it can be missed easily. How many times have you heard a parent say ‘one minute I was dropping them off at primary school, the next I am packing them off to University’.
Just where does the responsibility to earn money stop and the responsibility to be a parent begin?
I’ve even got a friend whose child goes to nursery while she is paid to look after someone else’s children.
There are several factors parents are trying to struggle against: cost of food, cost of housing, cost of fuel and low earnings.
In this environment children are a luxury and so is spending time with them.
This blog is for Unicef.
Thanks for reading.