When your “balance” looks different

Marissa Mayer

For Marissa Mayer, "balance" and a 130-hour work week aren't incompatible. Photo credit: Unknown (grabbed from the BetaBeat interview that inspired this post)

What if your parenting style looks a hell of a lot like a version of parenting you don’t follow…but people who don’t know the whole story judge you anyway?

Homa left a comment on my overparenting post that really got my bells ringing:

I sometimes feel like other parents are judging me for being a helicopter mom I do hover over my kids but it is a safety issue because a wayward PB&J in the playground could spell disaster…I try to teach my kids to be aware & independent even though I seem to hover.

Boy, do I get it.

I had the exact same feeling when we took my son out of school in 4th grade. I felt the heat of disapproval from medical and educational experts (and family members) who told me our move would hinder Luke’s ability to handle anxiety even further.

(Ironically, I felt similar heat coming from a few homeschooling parents a year-and-a-half later when Luke was ready to return to public middle school.)

Neither Homa nor I have a roadmap for the choices we’re making. No parent does, so the disapproval and judgement hits us where it hurts…our insecurities coupled with our desperate love for our children. And yet we press on. With no answers. Only hope with no guarantees.

In this BetaBeat interview, Google executive Marissa Mayer discusses her intense, successful career and how knowing herself well protects her from burnout:

“My theory is that burnout is about resentment,” she said. “Know yourself well enough to know what you’re giving up” by staying at work.

For Marissa, “balance” isn’t incompatible with a 130-hour work week. She’s in the minority and she knows it. She has found her own version of balance.

For Homa and me, parenting looks different from the norm, but something tells us, for now, this is the right way to do it. We might be wrong. But so might you, judgers.

To the naysayers, experts, and well-meaning people who still think we’re nuts: we appreciate your opinions. They help us clarify our own. We know you mean well, but you’re only seeing part of the picture.

Here’s what would help more than your judgement: your confidence in us as intelligent, consciencious parents. We don’t need your agreement. We need your support. Your continued honesty and friendship. Your willingness to keep talking.

But in the end we will always declare: we know our families best.


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More on The Accidental Expert:
♦ Family tech: the agony and the ecstasy
♦ The Happy/Sad List

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