This week viewer questions are all about parenting. Once you have a child you never stop being a parent. Karyn’s question reminds us that even after your kids are grown and have moved out, you continue to deal with parenting issues. Being a parent is the toughest job you’ll ever have, and learning to balance work and parenting is a lifelong lesson. Although being a dad and mom is tough, the rewards are many.
Dear Mary Jo,
How do I find balance with growing my career to help support my family and spending time with my son so I can be a great dad?
Dads today are the most involved of any generation thus far so more dads are asking the same question as you. How do you do it all, and the answer is you can’t, but you can do little things that will mean a lot to your son. Time spent with him is what matters most, so don’t worry about doing something special with him as much as just being there for him and doing things he enjoys. Walks in the park and playing ball are great opportunities to let him know he’s special to you. Whenever you get an opportunity, teach him new things, and when you’re with him shut off outside distractions. Kids need to know that when you’re with them you’re engaged.
Another great idea is to make a small work area for him next to where you work at home so he can learn the importance of having a designated area for homework or projects. He’ll be more motivated to sit there and color or busy himself if he feels more like you because you are everything to him. You can’t do it all…and sometimes you’re going to feel guilty, but the most important thing for kids to know is they are loved and prioritized by their dad. Being successful at work is important in helping him have more opportunities in the future, but more important is having a dad involved in his life that he can count on to be there and mentor for him along the way. Never put your child in a position where he questions whether you love him or work most.
Dear Mary Jo,
My husband and I are happily married and our grown children live nearby. How do I tell them to call before they come so they won’t interrupt their dad and me from having intimate time?
Congratulations on having launched two kids and still being in love with your husband. It sounds as though it’s time to remind your kids that you have another life that involves you and their dad, and you’d like to keep that part of your relationship intimate and private. Talking to them each one on one is the best way to not have any surprise visitors. Let them know that they are always welcome, but also let them know you’d appreciate if they will text or call first. Mentioning something to the effect that you and their dad are enjoying your time together will be enough of a subtle hint for them to understand. Kids don’t want to imagine their parents as an intimate couple, but gently reminding them that you are helps them see the value in marriage and also teaches them healthy boundaries.