The nine o’clock tele-drama you watch every week has not even started, but you’re too exhausted to watch, I mean who can stay awake this late? School drops and pickups, ballet classes, elocution lessons, swim lessons, dinner, homework, laundry, and bedtime, and all this on top of being a full time working parent in Sri Lanka and other demands of being a parent, spouse and someone’s child! You have just that ounce of energy left to drag yourself to bed so you can wake up at 4am and start the routine all over again. This is the life that many parents in Sri Lanka live, no different from their counterparts elsewhere. At least we have the advantages of having extended family around to step in and help when required. Each day with young kids feels like a week, each week like a month.
So parents in Sri Lanka are left wondering when this will all end and you can simply enjoy a quiet day at work and finish it with a special evening with the husband, without the stress. Well, this never happens, as time goes by, your five month old will become a 5-year-olds in the blink of an eye, and then 15-year-olds, bringing with it problems of its own. This unstoppable passing of time that turns babies into teenagers is the “other” biological clock facing many parents of children in Sri Lanka. Each day brings new growth, new milestones, and new wonderment, but the challenges that are often thrown into our adult lives, prevent us from totally enjoying and fully appreciating the delicate nuances of childhood.
We as parents of children in Sri Lanka have heard about attachment parenting, slow parenting and tiger moms. However, over my past 10 years as a work from home mum, I have learned that there is a single truth that applies to any parenting philosophy, a child needs to spend meaningful time with you. They need to bond with youth, see who you are and basically how you live.
As a working parent in Sri Lanka, add up all the time your child spends in school, at daycare or with the domestic, or with the grandparents that don’t include you, which makes the little time you spend with them all the more precious. The good news is that without worrying about how many minutes and hours you can spend with your children each day, focus on turning those minutes into quality time, creating memorable moments. When I used to work full time I found myself compensating for having such a small quantity of time by creating ‘quality time’ like two hours at the play area, or at the park, a movie or shopping and lunch. But, there are times when quality time may occur when you least expect it, like in the car on the way to ballet classes or swimming.
Not every day with your children will be perfect, but one day you will look back on your child’s transition into adulthood and their departure from the home with a profound sense of satisfaction because you’ve given them what they need to succeed in life and also given yourself what you need to feel like a successful parent.
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