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Letters From Listeners

Don't Feel Guilty for Not Being There for Your Kids
04/09/2013
Dr. Laura,

I live outside of the city of Rochester, NY, where Xerox has its headquarters. I saw this story covered on the news, and I couldn't believe it, so I went and found it for myself.

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns was speaking at a conference and "joked" with the audience that the secret to her success is that she married a man 20 years older than she is. Since he has retired and gone through the "growing up stuff," she can leave the kids with him and focus on her career. The total disregard for her husband's role as a father, not a babysitter, caught my attention. But what she said later really made me boil over.

The article goes on to say: "Mothers often feel pressure to be present for their children all the time, but such expectations are n either realistic nor necessary, Burns says. 'Kids are pretty resilient...You don't have to be at every volleyball game. We can't guilt ourselves.' [Ms. Burns's] own mother missed many of her extracurricular activities, she adds, 'and I'm fine.'"

I am a SAHM of two girls, 12 and 3, one of whom has a developmental disability. My husband and I happily share the responsibility for raising both of our girls. The thought that having a parent there to watch you grow up is neither necessary nor realistic never crossed our minds. We are parents--it's our job to be there for our girls.

I am glad that Ms. Burns is "fine" with where her life has taken her. I feel sorry for her children.

Dr. Laura, I only get to listen to you while I am in the car, but I really appreciate the advice you give. Thank you for standing up for motherhood and doing what is right.

~Laura, wife to her husband, and mom of two kiddos (and Opus, the high-maintenance, neurotic wonder dog).

P.S. Gotta run.  My three-year-old wants a banana....NOW!
Tags: Family/Relationships - Children, Morals/Ethics/Values, Parenting, Personal Responsibility, Values
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