We watched a movie titled A Woman Called Golda. She was an extraordinary woman but she was the first to say that she neglected her children when they were growing up because she had important work to do – which was true – and her perception that it should not have been more important than her children was also true. It is a paradox.
I had to return to work when my daughter was 3 mos old because her father lacked seniority and was laid off by the railroad due to a 1970s recession. When I would take her to the pediatrician, I couldn’t answer the simplest questions because I was working full time and away from her most of her waking hours. The doctor would always try to reassure me that it was the quality of the time I spent with her and not the quantity of time.
I now believe that was a lie. Not intentionally a lie but a lie never-the-less.
In my struggle to support us as a single mother, I ended up leaving my daughter with her paternal grandmother so I could go and try driving a large 18-wheel truck across country in order to actually make a “livable” wage. My intention was to save up some money and start again with trying to support the two of us.
It didn’t end up that way however. Ultimately, her father remarried a woman with a child and then they had a child together. Her step-mother operated a day care in their home. My daughter ended up with the family life I couldn’t give her at that time and it was incredibly difficult to be an absentee mom in the early 1970s.
Fortunately for me, life gave me a second chance to prove to myself that I could be a good parent. My two sons, born late in my life, have been with me 24/7 for their entire lives (they are schooled at home). The few times I did have to be away from them, their dad was still there. They never spent a night away from us, not even with grandparents.
This probably seems extreme to many people but my children now have both quality and quantity time and are thriving and very secure.