So today, about a year later, the school called me again. This time my son got on the phone. “Mom, I’m really sorry but I forgot my sports clothes. Do you think you could possibly drop them off for me?” His voice was genuinely sweet and unassuming. I decided to say yes. I had some flexibility in my schedule and more importantly, my son had the right attitude – he wasn’t assuming anything. When I arrived at the school and took the bag to the main office, the school secretary explained that my son had been very reluctant to call me. He told her that I don’t do that sort of thing – if he forgets something, I won’t come back to the school to drop it off.
Being a good parent requires delivering tough love sometimes. Kids need to learn to be independent. It can be a cruel and competitive world out there. Pursuing interests, including business, outside of your kids, can give you that extra perspective you need not overwhelm your kids with attention (dare I say spoil?). This benefit of working isn’t always immediately evident.
It wasn’t until our daughter went away to college that she realized why we (a dual career couple) had raised her in the way that we did. “Mom, I can’t believe how so many of my friends struggle to manage things on their own. They are constantly calling their parents for help.” You’ll love that moment! After all those years of complaining about why you don’t do this or why you don’t give them that, your kids have a “light bulb moment” and they realize that tough love has made them better people. Like many working mothers, I don’t have time to smother our kids, but this has turned out to be one of life’s blessings.