Originally published on LinkedIn back in January 2018.
A serious concern for this hopeful future father, is finding an organisation that values the importance of letting a father work from home and have time with his child.
One of the conversations that need to happen, I think, more often, is: what kind of parents do we want to be?
I grew up as what’s commonly called a “latch key kid”. I hardly ever saw my parents during the day, and had to fend for myself at home. Which included walking home, as I grew up in a regional town in the US.
Many Australians seem loathe to let their children walk to or from school on their own. Obviously, the fact that the sun is a quarter of a mile from the ground and seeks to turn us into charcoal marks on the ground is one major reason to get driven to school.
But the relationship between a child and their parent shouldn’t be structured around drop-off and pick-up times. Kids need to value spontaneity, and positive surprises. And more than ever, in this age of extreme mortgage stress and repayment stress (see: Saul Eslake’s recent comments on Australian car purchasing habits to see what I mean), it’s crucial that couples manage their lives better.
And that means supporting one another. And having time for one another. Which means organisations – and by proxy the government – need to consider the social implications of what it means to have long commutes, job uncertainty, low wage growth, and poor transport infrastructure.
It’s important that we not forget that the home life is important, and that’s not just Some Place we go to at the end of the day – it’s where we build our families, and reestablish our relationships, and engage in personal growth and development.
And I think that kind of attitude begins with reconsidering how my generation – Millennials – want to raise their children. Too many of us have grown up alone, or lacking meaningful interactions with our parents and siblings.
It’s a path best veered away from. Yes, face time is important in organisations. Yes, it’s important to be physically present in one’s place of employment. But not at the expense of our domestic life. And not at the expense of denying ourselves the more peaceful, quieter life that lies beyond the rims of the major cities of Australia.
There’s more to Australia than Sydney and Melbourne.