Parenting and Ambitions

All about reprioritising and repurposing life

Hi there! August has started and things are getting cool here in Netherlands so let see what this month has in store for us. Today, I want to talk about the concept of Parenting and Ambitions but first…

Weekly inventory check

As we draw the curtain on another month, it's time for a formal review of our achievements and commitments. Take a moment to go through your actions and accomplishments during July, assessing whether you successfully fulfilled the commitments you took on and, if not, the reasons behind any unmet objectives. For the month of August, plan what is important, what needs to be done and then let us see how it plays out.

Parenting and Ambitions

As a new parent, I find myself immersed in a sea of parental guides and articles about parenting. Recently, a thought-provoking quote regarding parental advice caught my attention and inspired me to write this newsletter: It said, "After a certain point, a successful career is a selfish act." This quote made me reflect on how, at times, the pursuit of a career can inadvertently lead parents to unintentionally neglect their child's needs. While striving for professional success is commendable, it's essential to acknowledge the delicate balance required between career aspirations and parenting responsibilities. Children need love, attention, and nurturing, which can sometimes get overshadowed when parents pour all their energy into their careers. Recognizing this potential conflict helps us become more mindful of our choices and actions as parents.

I strongly believe that dedicating a significant portion of our daily lives to our family is of utmost importance and should always be our primary focus. Once we become parents, our mindset should shift, and we make life choices based on what is best for our child's well-being and development. Our children are brought into this world because we wanted to have them (mostly), not by chance or without our will. Therefore, prioritizing their well-being and happiness over all other worldly pursuits should be an essential aspect of our parental responsibility.

Thinking back to my childhood, I vividly recall how my father's professional commitments shaped our family dynamics. As a hardworking businessman coming from a modest background, he dedicated himself to securing a better life for us. His efforts ensured access to quality education and an improved standard of living. However, due to the demands of his multiple business endeavours, he couldn't be as present in our lives as we wished for. After some point in our lives, my family was already settled, but my father ventured into new businesses. Looking back, I can't help but feel that he could have stopped at a certain point and focused more on us. Instead, he used the reasoning that it was all for our benefit, but deep down, I knew it was more for himself, just as the quote suggests.

I don't deny the role his dedication played in our family's success, but a part of me still believed that even if he had spent less time on his work and more time on his family, his children would still be somewhere today, may be not at the same spot as now, but still somewhere nice. Now, as he enjoys his retirement and is more present in our lives, I cherish every moment spent together. It has given me a profound understanding of the significance of a parent's love and support for their family. As we share time as a family, I've come to appreciate the value of his presence in our lives. It reinforces how important it is for parents to be actively involved in their children's lives, as their love and support have a lasting impact on their growth and well-being.

I recently came across a captivating TED talk that drew an intriguing parallel between parental involvement in a child's life and the dynamics of superstars and rockstars within an organization. In the workplace, superstars are driven and ambitious, always striving to race to the top and take the organisation to the next level. However, a well-functioning organization requires a balance of both superstars and rockstars. Rockstars provide stability and consistency, content with their roles, ensuring smooth operations and effective handling of challenges, they are like a rock, dependable. Similarly, parents can be likened to rockstars, offering unwavering support and guidance to their children. They empower their kids to shine brightly and reach new heights, much like how superstars excel with the stability provided by rockstars. This analogy beautifully underscores the significance of parental involvement and the role of a parent in their professional capacity, you become a rockstar at work so you can raise superstars at home.

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  • This article concludes that children require more than just the physical presence of their parents, they also need the quality time and emotional support of their parents to achieve stable mental health. So, if we care about how our careers are affecting our children’s mental health, we can and should focus on the value we place on our careers and experiment with creative ways to be available, physically and psychologically, to our children, though not necessarily in more hours with them.

  • Against the argument of this topis, this article focuses on how it is important for women to continue with their career after having kids and concludes that having children is a heavily laborious thing as it demands a lot of time, attention, and even finances from you. But it is not impossible to continue with careers after having children.

  • Another example is of this article. Here, in an interview, Venera Hefti argues why ambitions should not die after having children. She emphasises on self care and love and how it is okay to not be thinking about your baby 24/7.

Read of the Week

To better understand the concept of parenting and ambitions, there is a great book that I came across; Work Matters How Parents’ Jobs Shape Children’s Well-Being by Maureen Perry-Jenkins · 2022. In this book the author examines why some parents and children thrive while others struggle, demonstrates how specific job conditions impact parental engagement and child well-being, and discusses common-sense and affordable ways that employers can provide support.

Thoughts to leave you with

I like to compare life to a juggling game, and it reminds me of an anecdote that perfectly illustrates its essence. Imagine your life as a collection of various balls, each representing different aspects of your life that you are trying to balance. Some of these balls are made of rubber, while others are delicate glass. The rubber balls symbolize things like work and professional commitments. If you drop a rubber ball, it bounces back, and you can easily pick it up again. Work may have its ups and downs, but it remains resilient, allowing you to recover and continue. However, the most crucial ball in this juggling act is the glass ball, representing family. When you juggle your family responsibilities, there is little room for error. If the family ball drops, it shatters, and you can't mend it back together. It emphasizes the permanence and fragility of our family bonds. The central message behind this analogy is that your priority should be towards your family because they are the constant support and love throughout your life. Often, in our pursuit of success and leaving a mark on the world, we become hyper-focused on work and overlook the people who truly matter. We forget that the impact we leave on those around us is what truly defines our legacy. Let us strive to create a life where our presence makes a positive difference, and even when we eventually depart, the love and memories we leave behind continue to uplift and inspire those we care for the most.

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