Friday, July 21, 2006

You Can't Have It All

I was in Wal-Mart a couple of months ago. In front of me, in the check-out line, was a professionally dressed woman trying to hold her cell phone to her ear, while juggling her purchases in her hands and under her arms. In her continued effort to hold it all together, she dropped a box. I picked it up and held it until she finished the call. When she ended her conversation, she thanked me, sighed, and as women often do, she then began to tell a complete stranger (me) her frustrations. "That was my son. He's trying to get this project done. I'm supposed to be at work, but he needed a few things. Hopefully, my boss won't notice I took a longer lunch."

I empathized with her stress, "You do have your hands full. (It was fun to finally say that to someone else!) I think we've been lied to all these years, women really can't really have it all. Something always gets dropped." I handed her back the box.

She chuckled, "No, they can't."

Something always gets dropped. In this situation it was a box that was easily retrieved. But as the Daily Mail reports more often it's the children and the impact is far greater. A new study in Great Britain shows,

A typical working parent spends just 19 minutes a day looking after their children, official figures revealed yesterday. The startling research shows the devastating impact that working full-time has on children who hardly see their parents.
With less than 20 minutes spent with their parents every day, this is only enough time to eat a quick breakfast together or have a couple of bed-time stories. ...

Maire Fahey, editor of Prima, said: "In the 1980s, we thought we could have it all and aspired to high-flying careers and happy families. "But the cracks are starting to show. Family life is suffering and something has got to give."

The upside to an article like this, is that maybe women will begin to understand there are always trade- offs. That the balance they believe they can achieve between work and family is a mirage, quality minutes don't make up for quantity minutes.

Barbara Curtis, said this in a post today
Once you become a parent, life isn't about you anymore. It is about your kids. And kids need you more than anything else. They need your time and attention. The whole argument about "Quality Time" is bogus through and through.
I agree with her in part. When we become a parent, life isn't about us anymore. It wasn't before that really. However, it often takes becoming a parent to help us realize that simple truth. But as a parent, I try and resist the urge to make it about my children as well. Yes, they need our time and attention, but life isn't about our kids. If we begin to believe that, then despite the fact that we homeschool, we'll raise another generation who believe that life revolves around them. The sad cycle will just continue. Life isn't about me or my children. It's about the One who gave me and my children life. When I live a life that revolves around Him, it is easier to order my priorities in such a way that will benefit all of us. Our Lord has arms big enough to hold it all together and make sure that nothing gets dropped. We just need to let go and let Him.

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