Every parent wishes they could have more time with their kids. But work gets in the way. Responsibilities get in the way. We envy the parents that get more time with their kids, that don’t work the same hours we do, that have the flexibility.
If only we could be so lucky…
In Aziz Ansari’s short new Netflix comedy special, he tells a joke about a conversation with the musician Frank Ocean. Aziz, marveling at the autonomy Ocean seems to have over his career, asks him how he gets away with it—gets away with only making music when he wants, only touring when he wants, only doing the kinds of things he wants. It’s not that hard, Ocean tells him, you just have to be comfortable making less money.
If we’re being honest, how much of the time we spend away from our kids for our work is actually related to putting food on the table? How much of it is actually, truly rooted in need? Probably not nearly as much as we tell ourselves (or them). We work for other reasons—often good reasons—but it’s not because we have to. We could have more flexibility if we wanted. We could choose a different job. We could choose to put family over career advancement.
Let us stop acting as if the freedom—and opportunity—we crave isn’t within our grasp. We could spend more time with our kids. We could be there more than we are. We’d just have to be comfortable making less money. We’d have to be comfortable being less important. We’d have to put our priorities into place instead of just paying lip service to them.