It’s late in the evening and I’m just getting home from an event. My two boys are fast asleep. They’ve had dinner, a story, and were tucked in by their father hours ago. I can’t help going into their rooms to check on them, kiss them, and hope subconsciously they know I am there and that I love them. I know I may have missed some good moments with them tonight, but I know too that I can offer them more by excelling at what I do.
I have never felt the guilt that some women do when they go back to work. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I’d never be happy staying at home. I’m totally unqualified for teaching young children. So, I’m very lucky to have met a wonderful woman who I trust completely with my children. She is a much better caregiver and teacher than I could ever dream of being, and I know they are safe, loved, and learning.
Times are changing quickly and stay-at-home mothers are a shrinking demographic, while men have taken a much larger role in raising their children. Some believe these changes will wreak havoc with the family unit, but I tend to think that these cultural changes will actually cause more people to live happier lives … and make valium mothers a thing of the past. A strong family takes more than having one parent at home.
This past weekend we celebrated my aunt’s 75th birthday. All her children and her sisters, as well as, extended family were there. A lot of us hadn’t seen one another since we were kids; yet, there was an acceptance, a sense of wanting to know about the other despite the distance. Perhaps it is just curiosity, wanting to see how the “A” student turned out as an adult, or how the sensitive child grew into an artist. But I think there is more to it.
I still feel connected to the cousins that I knew as a child, despite the distance and time that has passed. The shared memories create a connection between us. One of them has a successful career as a banker, another is a lawyer, while another is a passionate artist, but they all come together and enjoy time with one another. It’s due to this connection we share called family.
Family pulls people together who wouldn’t normally choose to connect, but so too does work. This newspaper allows me to be with people I don’t share much in common with. And yet I am able to learn and grow from them because of the time we spend together. And over time, I have grown to respect and appreciate the people I work with – each one of them tries to excel at what they do.
I’ve always believed diversity enhances creativity. The more backgrounds and experiences people have, the more ideas they bring to the table. Diversity can be very profitable in a well-run business, but only when everyone shares a common desire for the success of the business… and maybe that is the key to building a strong family.
My husband and I both want to build a strong happy family, but we know this depends on each of us growing and learning as much as we can in order to pass it on to our children. A strong successful family is one in which all members can learn, grow and find happiness. The cultural changes that are driving more women out of the home, and more men into the home, may indeed help build stronger families, so long as all members share the common desire for success.
Sarah Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.