My husband and I are both in senior sales management positions and are working in different marketing organizations. We have three boys: ages 15, 10 and 6. I’ve been feeling emotionally torn between my job and my children. Both my husband and I keep long hours and we travel to the provinces. In addition, my husband has regional responsibilities so he is out of the country at least three times a year. Our children have grown up without us. I literally and actually just gave birth to them and let yayas and my mother-in-law raise them. My husband and I have observed that they are not close to us though we gave them all the comforts that our jobs are able to provide us. In fact, our eldest son is not only distant but keeps away from us especially from me even on Sundays when I would be home and try to have conversation of him. Also, I have noticed some character traits, and values that surprise, even shock us. But at this point in time, it will be very difficult for me to give up my job to stay home. My husband’s urgings that I resign and spend time with our boys are becoming stronger. But I have responsibilities at work and targets to maintain that it is not easy. I don’t know what to do. To be truthful, I’m inclined to work rather than to family. But I’m really torn inside me.
Mrs. Torn to Pieces
You have described very well the situation you are in and the emotional turmoil of having to give up a job that evidently fulfills you more than motherhood and taking care of your sons. Usually parents don’t act on what real life priorities until a crisis occurs. But by then it’s usually late.
You have described the telltale signs that a crisis is imminent: lack of closeness of children to you and observable character traits and values that disturb, even shock you.
Your responsibilities in your organization will increase as you advance up the career ladder. There is no likelihood that you will have time for your children. Your 10 and 15 year olds are now growing up without a need for you except as a source of material satisfactions such as money to buy things that they see their peers possessing and enjoy.
I believe you need to come to grips with your values for your heart is not in its right place. Bottom line is: your work/career achievements will eventually be forgotten by your organization but the results of parental neglect on your children will affect their self-esteem, their character and personality which affect their present and their future life. There is truth in this saying: At the end of our life we will wish we had spent more time with our children than we had done at work.
We carry our parents with us throughout our life; how they made us feel by their decisions and actions will influence our behaviors throughout life. For example, parental neglect and indifference will make a child feel abandoned and rejected. This will affect his self-image; he develops the, I’m not OK – You’re OK life position that will make him withdrawn from others or become aggressive and manipulative to get the affection and attention of others.
He carries this over in his relationships with others including his own spouse and children, and in the work place.
I strongly suggest you to buy a good book on developmental psychology in which there are numerous titles and read up on this important aspect of parent-child relationships. Teachers and guidance counselors will tell you that problem students, e.g., those with poor grades, commit vandalism, are into drugs, etc., are children of two kinds of parents: the negligent, indifferent who have no time to develop close positive relationship with them and those who overindulge their children and spoil them. You are both sad to say, you are negligent and you overindulge to make up for your negligence.
I recently received a text message which touched me and I’d like to share it with you for whatever purpose it will have: “Here’s a recipe for the New Year in order to have inner joy and peace of mind: Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave everything to God and remember – the richest person is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the least!”
Have a blessed new year!