Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
I’m not a bad father. Some of the time. See,
, and that means I share parenting with my ex, who is an awesome mom to my kids. Something I struggle with, though, is feeling like not-such-a-great dad when my kids aren’t with me. I wonder: do parents have to be around 24/7 in order to feel adequate?
A recent criminal case in the States reveals how parents can be judged. A working mom had a nanny who flipped. The nanny allegedly murdered the two children. Tragic. What is bizarre, though, is that the mom, who happens to be a mommy blogger, was trashed in the comments sections of media reports. “How can she be a mommy blogger when a nanny looks after her kids?” was a recurring theme. As if having a full-time employee help her carry out parenting tasks disqualified her from being a mom.
I know working moms (and dads) who feel an immense sense of guilt about missing out on whole portions of their children’s lives- milestones passed without being witnessed, caregivers having to relay stories of first words spoken and so on. And yet obviously the financial contribution provided by working is necessary for those cared-for kids. Even if the parent chooses to work in order to pursue a passion and the family doesn’t need that extra income, that doesn’t make the working parent a “bad” parent.
Look at Tom Cruise
(just as an example, I have no idea what he’s like as a parent) he gets criticised for having to be apart from his daughter for months on end yet he’s an actor who has to spend extended periods away from home. He’s reportedly furious with reports suggesting he’s a bad dad for that reason.
There are mommy and daddy bloggers who spend more time on their blogs than they do parenting (and I’ve had my own kids reprimand me for spending too much time on Twitter, so no judging from me!) and parents who work from home or SAH parents who don’t spend every minute trying to enrich the lives of their little ones. Are any parents actively present every hour of every day?
I’m not cross with anyone - just having the good dad/bad dad argument with myself. I think it’s time we all stopped judging ourselves, measuring our parenting on some imagined scale. I’d ask people what they think about that on Twitter, but that would distract me from my REAL job, raising happy kids in the only way I know how, picking it up as I go along.
Are you quicker to judge yourself or other parents? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your worst “judging experience” and you could win a R250 Kalahari.com voucher!