"When you're 18 I'm free!", this is the phrase some of us say when we're joking about parenting. Well some of us are joking others maybe serious. You can ask any grandparent and they'll all tell you that it never ends but the demands from the children just change.
I've spent most of my parenting as a single parent. I remember taking on the task and swearing off of any relationships until my kids are 18 and off to college. This was 9 years ago and yes it is tough. I'm not at all a psychologist but I did know that if I did focus on a relationship for myself that it would create drama for my kids, especially my daughter. This is not about me so let me get back on track. In this day and age even two parent households face a very tough time raising their kids. We find ourselves working more and spending less time with the kids. Being under the same roof is not the same as spending time.
"Kids spell L-O-V-E, T-I-M-E" - Zig Ziglar. I love this quote because it is so true. I'm told that I'm a patient man but I don't see that. Sometimes I feel that I can scare my kids away when I'm coaching. I'm really competitive and it shows when I coach. To my surprise the kids love me and their parents aren't concerned about my yelling. Leads me to the conclusion that kids just appreciate that someone cares about them and is willing to play with them. The parents must appreciate that it's not them that is yelling at their kids.
Whoever follows my blogs or me on Facebook or Twitter can see that I spend a lot of time with the kids. I have even been asked by other parents if I ever work. I know they did not mean any harm. They actually follow up and congratulate me for spending so much time and volunteering my time as a coach. We have so many demands on our time that we start to forget the real reason why we work so much. Eventually the material goods that we want, not need, become a burden. Then we start trying to buy our kids love.
Being thrown into single parenthood was a huge wake up call. Prior to that I was about status. I was young and having status felt like it meant so much. Deep down inside I was in conflict with how my parents had raised me. I allowed my then wife to convince me to spend as if there was no tomorrow. Divorce, single parenthood, bankruptcy, etc... brought me back down to earth. What was important now was God, family, and friends. Needless to say I feel that my purpose in life is to raise my kids and give back to the community by being a positive influence to other kids. This is the kind of greed that I'm proud of cause it doesn't pay anything but I get points with God.
To answer the question if I work, yes and all the time. As a Realtor who is a know it all I'm there as a resource to all my contacts. People will call me with real estate questions, tax questions, and even directions. Do I always get paid no but that's not what I'm concerned with. I am concerned that I'm there to serve others. The real estate business is where I make my money and because I serve others eventually they reward me with a referral. My business is round the clock. It is more flexible than a 9 to 5 but I am on the clock from 7am to 11pm. Thanks to PDA's, laptops, and technology I have found something that I love to do and is flexible enough to be a parent that is hands on. Also I have learned to accept help from friends and family. The circle I have around the kids and myself is full of very loving people. My character is a reflection of my surroundings.
This brings me to the point I'm trying to make. When you decide to become a parent it should be job number one. Plan your career and life according to the children. We should always be striving to make the next generation better. Get the kids away from the TV and go out and play with them. We all need to try to be kids again but be careful cause I've realized I don't bounce up as easily as them. Remember the freedom our parents gave us. These freedoms have allowed us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. What I do is point out the mistakes I've made to my kids and I ask them not to repeat them. In the end wisdom comes from experience. I love my job as a parent but to be an effective parent I know that one day I will have worked myself out of this job and set these kids free.