In my pre-children days, I never spared much thought to what went on behind the scenes in working parents' lives. While I spent much of my 20 minute morning showers pondering about the pros and cons of Early Grey versus English Breakfast as the first cuppa of the day, the working parents were neck to neck with the ticking clock that refused to budge for even the most spectacular tantrum, injury or melt down. They frantically fed, clothed and packed bags for a small army, before falling out the door to begin their taxi service, depositing children at day care, school or relatives. While I enjoyed my usual uninterrupted 8 to 10 hours of sleep, working parents would most likely have been woken several times in the night due to wet beds/nightmares/colic/feeding/diarrhoea/projectile vomiting. Yet, they would stagger into the office complete with make-up and a more co-ordinated outfit than most, and spend less time surfing the net or emailing friends than anyone else in the office. When their working day was over they would spend the afternoon picking up and delivering noisy, hyperactive children to various activities before heading home to cook up a dinner amidst the chaos of tired, hungry and clingy children who missed their parents. Meanwhile I went home and put my feet up with a glass of wine, watched the news and lamented on what a stressful day it had been.
I can't help but feel a little guilty now when I think about the working parents from my office days and my lack of concern for their well being. So if you see a working parent in your office, can you please treat them with care and respect. Make them tea and coffee and avoid at all costs any sort of whining within their vicinity.
This image is for the working parents - the first in a series.