Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Juggling Act Called Parenting

One of my colleagues over at the National Parent Education Network wrote a fine letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. I've reprinted it below, with permission. I admire how she took a strong stand!

Eve Sullivan

WALL STREET JOURNAL Dec.8, 2008, letter to the editor

In Business Bookshelf November 26, 'Up the ladder, step by step,' Philip Delves Broughton describes the so-called ‘work-life blend’ of an executive who takes his laptop and paperwork to his son’s baseball games. Something is wrong with this picture. It would certainly not be business-like to bring laundry to fold during Friday morning meetings at work.

It is hardly ‘parent-like’ to let work tasks encroach regularly on family life, although this may be necessary from time to time. Our children learn that we love them and value what they do by the good attention we give them and their activities. The epidemic of childhood and adolescent depression has at least some roots in inadequate parenting.

Parents, in turn, need support that we are not getting. Raising children and working outside the home are only two of the five-ball juggling act we are called upon to perform: we must attend to our own lives, to relationships, to productive work, to leisure and to involvement in the larger community.

As a society, we need parenting services, including parent education and support, to become normalized, widely available and affordable.

Eve Sullivan
Cambridge, Mass.

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