I am a part-time working mother, as are my sisters and almost all of my girlfriends, nieces, colleagues and acquaintances. I know very few women who either work full time or don’t work at all.
I don’t have an opinion on that at all, personally I think everything is fine. You must do what is best for you and your family. To say that someone is not a good mother (or should not have started having children) when she works full-time is too short-sighted. There are plenty of women who, for example, have to pay for everything alone after a divorce and therefore have to work full-time, simply to provide a roof over their children. Or mothers who have tried for years to get pregnant and finally have a child, are we going to judge her because she prefers to stay at home to take care of her child? These are of course only examples, but if you have an opinion about working or non-working mothers, you are immediately on a glass of ice. You don’t know someone’s situation and you can’t look into someone’s wallet. So I have no opinion about how other mothers organize their lives in terms of work and family, that is up to them. What I do think is important is that your child is in a nice place when you are working. I wouldn’t be able to fully focus on my work if I knew my child was sad at daycare or somewhere else he’s uncomfortable.
My sisters and I are lucky to have parents who are truly heaven send. As parents they were already fantastic, but as grandparents they already rise above themselves. They now have six grandchildren – with a seventh on the way – and nothing is ever too much for them. On Tuesdays all the children stay with them after school and there is always a party. They go to the cinema, make jam, cupcakes, fun crafts together and the kids are spoiled terribly, and then mainly with genuine attention. With their inexhaustible love, energy and fun ideas, my parents make it something special every time, and my sisters and I really realize how special that is. It is not self-evident that grandparents want to babysit, but when they do so with such passion and dedication, you can only feel very blessed with that. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to take his or her child to family during working hours, I am really aware of that, but I wish every child a grandfather and grandmother like my parents.
Luckily we live around the corner from my parents, so my boys love to blow in every now and then. How different it was when we lived ten thousand kilometers away… I will never forget how sad my parents waved goodbye to us at the airport in Düsseldorf when we emigrated. Lewis was one year old at the time and their only grandchild at the time. I thought it was terrible. In our case, everyone is more comfortable now that we live close together again and see each other often. Unfortunately my ex’s mother passed away and his father still lives on Curaçao. My boys hardly ever see their grandfather, which they sincerely regret. It’s a big loss.
Grandchildren sometimes do not realize what grandparents do for them, how much they are willing to pay for them. Sometimes children don’t. I really have a hard time with stories about parents who think it’s completely normal for grandparents to babysit, who simply assume that it will happen. Parents who make demands or stand on their hind legs when things don’t go their way. Then do it yourself, quit your job and take care of your own child. Grandfathers and grandmothers have actually had their day, they have raised their children and when they take care of grandchildren it is out of love. At least, I see it as a great show of love when you sacrifice your free time to take care of a couple of little ones again.
Quite honestly, I enjoy going to work when the kids are with my parents. I know that they are well and fine and that I get them back at the end of the day completely happy. Then they did fun things, ate healthy snacks and received a lot of love and attention. I can be a good part-time working mom because I have my parents, and so are my sisters. My boys also got a fantastic sweet bonus grandmother with Nils’ mother. Bizarre how quickly that changed and they embraced each other, how naturally it happened. I like it so much for the children that they have a kind of new grandmother who will always be there for them. What a blessing.
Please let’s appreciate the (bonus) grandparents and say so, because they are important to us and our children and they are worth gold.
She is a counselor in secondary special education, an author at De Fontein publishers, mother of two boys aged ten and eight, recently divorced and expecting a daughter with her new boyfriend. So nothing boring about it. That is why we would like to introduce you to our new columnist: Ellen Rink.