Every now and then news comes along to expose a trend that none of us wanted to admit. In this case, a survey that asked mothers about their deepest parenting secret exposed the fact that many used work to avoid child care.
The survey, released last week, drew attention for some of the other, more absurd, confessions. For instance, when given a choice, more mothers expressed a desire to be slimmer than that their child be smarter. It was the work-hiding that struck a chord of truth.
Now, I of course, have never committed, or would never admit to committing, this selfish parenting behavior. I can, however, attest to the almost universal reality that children are not their best after 6 p.m. In fact, a few weeks ago a colleague suggested I write about how often men postponed leaving the office until they were assured their partners had handled dinner-bath-bedtime.
Most every working parent misses their child or children during the workday, many desperately. It is not a contradiction to acknowledge that the post-commute entrance into the home for many working parents tends to be unpleasant. It can often involve being confronted with tired, hungry children who could care less how exhausting your day was.
In this work-obsessed region, where many jobs are notoriously demanding and commutes can be brutal, the evening child-care duty can be especially grueling.
Still, few of us would openly admit to our kids, our partner or anyone else, that sometimes we’d rather take the fluorescent lights and stale air over the end-of-the-day family time.
Have you ever used work to avoid child care? Would you admit it to people you know?