You Have to Make Adjustments

Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, met with his prime minister, Winston Churchill, every Tuesday at 5:30pm. So you might think that when his daughter took over, she would continue the tradition. Elizabeth was, after all, a traditionalist. 

But she didn’t. Queen Elizabeth had two young children and every parent knows that 5:30pm is when dinner time starts to transition into bedtime. To avoid the painful question, “Why isn’t Mummy going to play with us tonight?”, her biographer Sally Bedell Smith writes that Queen Elizabeth “moved the audience to 6:30, which allowed her to go to the nursery to join in their nightly bath and tuck them into bed, before discussing matters of state with Winston Churchill.” 

The point is: Whatever your children’s ages, you have to make adjustments. Whatever your job is, it can and must be adjusted around what we all know is our most important job. If the Queen can put off Winston Churchill for an hour, you can reschedule that conference call. If Obama can figure out how to have dinner with his daughters, you can make breakfast with yours. 

Would it be wonderful if society was much more accommodating and naturally fitted to the lives and obligations of parents? Yes. Are we fulfilling our moral duty as a society to support all parents and families? Not nearly enough. Hopefully the tide is turning in that regard. But in the meantime, as parents, we have to continue to fight for what we can get. We have to make the necessary adjustments, insist on them, stick to them, and not be afraid to put some people out in the process.

Family comes first. Before business…even the business of state.

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