My mother didn’t go to work when I was young. Instead she woke up early, made us a brown bag lunch, drove the carpool to school, and went home to clean the house, grocery shopped, and ironed my father’s button down shirts. By the time we got home, she would be sitting on the couch, engrossed in the Phil Donahue show, while she directed us to do our homework. Shortly after, she’d freshened her makeup for my father’s arrival and began to prepare a sit-down family dinner.
When my children were young, I got up early, made them a brown bag lunch, dropped them off at the bus stop, and went to work. I took the baby with me. Breastfed her in my office with the door shut, and rocked her asleep before jumping on my computer to run the reports for the day. In the afternoon, my husband would pick up the kids, including the baby, take them home to start their homework, pick up dinner, and then drop his shirts off at the cleaners before meeting me back at the house.
When my daughter’s have children, I hope they wake up early, make them a brown bag lunch, go to work, or stay home and care full-time for their family. Partner with their husbands to nurture and support their children–and each other. And appreciate, as I have, loving and being loved by children who appreciate a simple lunch, a little help with their homework, and the sacrifices parents make to help each generation to be a little better than the last.