By Lenore Chapman
When I was growing up, I don't remember my parents being home during the day, or even home when I got home from school in the afternoon. When they did arrive home, they were too busy or tired to spend time with me and my sisters and brothers. We would entertain ourselves until it was bedtime.
I got married and started my own family and decided that my children are going to know their mother. Nothing against my parents, I love them to death. My mother had no choice but go to work. With 7 kids, bills to pay,and food to put on the table, she had to help out at home. I know she worked hard for the little money she made and I know she was tired when she got home. My father was an auto mechanic, a darn good one. He had his own shop and worked ungodly hours out there. He had the business but he was too darn honest, and would charge for the parts and very little for labor. My husband at the time worked at a Steel Mill and I really didn't have any intentions of going to work at all, he was making good money, until the mill shut down, I had no choice.
I made up my mind that I would be a stay at home mom until my kids were in first grade. Kindergarten was only a half day back then and I didn't want them coming home to a babysitter, so that is when I made up my mind to get a job when they were in first grade.
My days consisted of the normal day. Clean, cook, laundry and kids. When my kids wanted me to play with them, I did just that, I put off my chores for my kids. Back then my kids watched very little TV. We did puzzles, or played board games. I remember playing Chutes and Ladders, and Trouble, as they got older it was Sorry and Monopoly . And the learning cards. I started playing games with my kids at a very young age. I played with cars and trucks and Barbie and Ken dolls. When my kids got old enough to go out and play with their friends, that was when they were school age, the play time had changed. We would spend time with them in the evening. First it was dinner time, then their homework, then a game of their choice. We played a game every night before bedtime and it seemed to relax them. And then off to bed and to sleep.
I feel the first 5 years are very important to kids. The Leave it to Beaver days are gone. You don't have mom meeting you at the door with her little, clean apron on. But that doesn't mean that you still can't be there for your kids. I hear a lot of, I don't have time. Well, make time. Even if it is only an hour, that hour means a lot to that child. Spend that hour just talking to your child. Ask about his day at school, or his friends or his toys. I bet there are parents out there that don't know who their child's hero is. You might be and you don't know it. You need to spend time with them now before they grow up and go out on their own, it's too late then.
I spent time with my kids and it seems to have rubbed off on them. They spend a lot of time with their kids. And yes when I go to visit them I spend a lot of time with both my kids and grandkids. I don't regret the times my house was neglected for my kids.