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Kids to Working Moms: Don't Feel Guilty

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Raising a family and working 40 hours a week are two full-time jobs. Many parents feel some guilt about being away from their children. But what do the kids think?

Kids think that working parents can be good parents. They say it's all about what you put into it when you leave the office.

Mornings at the Moser home are hectic. While 8-year-old Kyle is getting ready for school, Mom and Dad are getting ready for work.

While Kyle would like his mom home more, he does not seem to mind that she works.

"I like her doing work because we really want to spend time together, and to go out to eat together. We need money to go out to eat," he says.

Kim feels some guilt, but with Kyle in private school, working full-time is a necessity.

"I wish I was home in the afternoon so he wouldn't have to go to after school care," she says.

Working family expert Ellen Galinsky says it is time to break the cycle of guilt and stress that often traps parents.

For her new book, "Ask The Children," she talked with hundreds of children whose parents work.

Her findings were surprising.

"What children say is that it's notiftheir parents work or not work. It'swhotheir parents are as people, what kind of values they live by. Do they practice what they preach? And whether they're connected to their children."

At an Early Childhood Development conference in Fayetteville Wednesday, Galinsky says it is quality time that matters.

"The kids call it 'being there for me,'" she says.

Galinsky offered some advice to the Moser family. Kim mentioned that although she would like to eventually work part-time, her job now helps meet her personal and career needs.

Galinsky says it is important that she expresses those feelings to Kyle so he does not think her work is all about money.

Galinsky is president of theFamilies and Work Institute. The nonprofit center conducts research on the changing family, workplace and community.

For working parents, Galinsky offers these tips:
  • If you feel guilty, treat the problem. Do not wait until something dramatic happens in your family to determine what you really want to do.
  • Ask your company for more flex time.
  • Find ways to leave the stress at work.
  • A study in Cumberland County found many parents do not know where to go for help when they need it. As a result, some local services have been underutilized.

    Wednesday, the Cumberland County Partnership for Children unveiled a new community resource guide. It gives information and phone numbers for everything from parental support groups to recreation and leisure.

    "The average length of time a young family [lives] in their neighborhood or community is less than two years, so it takes a long time to learn how to navigate a community. This is a great opportunity to jump start them," says Eva Hansen.

    The guides are free and available through the Cumberland County Partnership for Children.


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