Parents Can’t Get Time Back

Many adults regret not having spent more of their time with their young children.

Scott A. Weiss

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If you are the parent of a young child or children trying to balance your career with your parental responsibilities, you are not alone. According to the 2018 Employment Characteristics of Families studies published by the US Department of Labor, at least one parent was employed in 90.8 percent of families with children. Among married-couple families with children, 97.4 percent had at least one employed parents, and 63.0 percent had both parents employed.

That’s a lot of parents working who would otherwise be spending time with their young children. And newsflash: they’ll never get that time back.

That’s a scary thought.

A survey of 2,000 parents conducted by Huggies Little Simmers in 2012 found that 63% wish they had done more activities with their child. Seven out of ten felt they had taken their youngster’s childhood for granted. More than two thirds said it was easy to forget they would not be young forever. More than half said they regretted not having more quality time with their children when they were younger.

That’s a lot of parents with a lot of regrets.

As the father of three (14, 10, 6) I can personally attest to the fact that life, when you put children in the mix, moves extremely fast. Think of your single twenties as a creek that calmly winds through a valley, and parenthood the swelling, whitewater river tumbling through the canyon after the first spring snow melt.

In other words, you’re raft is much more inclined to flip in the testy waters of parenthood than it is when you are enjoying a relatively carefree life as someone without the responsibility of children.

Fortunately for me, I read somewhere early on about this late-life regret — how common it is for major business executives and successful tycoons to lament in their later years the time they missed spending with their offspring, being too consumed with their careers, the pursuit of money and power, and other things “you can’t take with you”. This dilemma was memorialized in the handful of books and movies about Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO who infamously rejected his young daughter, only to…

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Scott A. Weiss

Author, freelance writer and self-employed recruiter. Bylines in the Daily Beast, Seattle Times, Classic Rock Magazine, LouderSound.