Your Kids Don't Care about Your Job
That's a good thing
Here’s a freeing thought: your kids don’t care about your job. They don’t care whether you’re important. They don’t care whether your career isn’t as advanced as you hoped. They don’t care that you made a mistake on your last project or didn’t close that sale you’ve been nurturing. They don’t care that the economy is looking weak and your gross revenue is down for the quarter. That’s not what they look for in a parent.
My son doesn’t care how productive I was or how many words I wrote today. He doesn’t care whether I worked out enough or how much I can lift or whether the scale is going up or down. He just wants to know when I’m done so that I can play pokemon with him.
Our kids don’t care about the money, either. Sure, they may whine about wanting the latest video game or that 1000-piece lego set from Walmart or the super secret surprise egg they saw some kid open on YouTube, but whether they get it or not, the next day they are back to playing with the couch cushions and an old foam roller. If you can afford a bed, a television, and a constant supply of Goldfish, that’s good enough for them. And you could probably get by without the bed or TV.
As adults, we spend a lot of time worrying about the future, about how things are going, about what our coworkers or neighbors or friends think of us, about whether life has turned out precisely as we anticipated and all the areas we are failing to meet our expectations, about whether we will ever get all those things—houses or cars or gadgets or vacations or respect—we dreamed about getting. We are all stressed and miserable, because none of us achieves everything we want or could achieve. And yet we keep trying, and we justify ourselves by saying we are doing it for our families, for our kids. We’re not.
I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for me. You are too. That’s okay. You can do things for yourself sometimes. Someone has to pay the bills. But our kids don’t care about any of that. They don’t worry about our social status or financial prospects. The future has no effect on them. They want someone to play with them right now, today. You don’t have to be important or even particularly competent. You’ll probably end up playing a minion, anyway, or maybe a sidekick at best. And they usually prefer it when you lose.
It’s a good reminder. If you’re stressed about work and life, burned by the past and haunted by the future, spend some time with your kids. They won’t hassle you about finishing that novel you’ve been meaning to write. They won’t judge your career choices. They won’t ask you for a 5-year plan. They don’t care. They just want you to be present.
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