I’ve no time to parent!
Don't put your career before your kids, says Sipho Yanano.
Good parenting requires lots of time; at least 18 years of a parent’s life.  In the modern world, time is a very scarce commodity- more so for the working parent. You have to make time for your child, partner, friends and family, leisure, a career, religion, resting and relaxing, and so on. It’s a complicated and guilt-ridden juggling act. Ideally, the parenting role should be top priority. However, in reality, prioritizing child rearing is a challenge for many parents who are overwhelmed by many responsibilities.

My sleeping child

One of the prominent thieves of parenting time is one’s career. In trying to provide for the family a balance may be lost. A parent may feel justified to spend most time at work, reasoning that they are providing well for the child. I remember reading about a parent who would get home and find his child asleep. He’d leave for work the next morning before his child woke up. A Polish proverb summarizes it best: You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.

Some parents may not verbally utter the words “I’ve no time to be a parent!” but their actions do speak louder. I’ve noticed some quick-fixes that some time-strapped parents resort to:
  • They stash their pre-teen children in boarding school and entrust care of toddlers to centre-based care.
  • A child is raised by the grandparents, away from the parents.
  • A child-minder takes most of the parenting role.
  • A child is raised by the parent’s siblings, other close relatives or friends.
  • The busy parent delegates most of the child rearing on the stay-at-home parent.
  • To compensate for their constant absence from the child some parents shower the child with material things.
How have some made time for parenting?

Having their child do whatever they are doing gives some parents more family time. Activities such as preparing meals, other household chores and leisure time are done with the kids.

One parent only works mornings only so that she can be there when the kids came back from school. 

Limiting time spent watching TV for more family-friendly activities like playing games with their  children has give some parents more opportunity to get to know their children well.

Scheduling set times to give each child personal attention such as reading to them or doing simple activities such as going to the park together is an effective method of creating time for your child.

“In the end, kids won't remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them,” writes Kevin Heath. Words every parent should remember when they feel like shortchanging their little one, time wise.

Do you think you manage to spend enough time with your child every day?

Read more by Sipho Yanano

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