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The family that eats together …

April 12, 2012

Click on photo to watch 57 second video

It doesn’t matter if you’re the chief operating officer of Facebook making millions of dollars a year like Sheryl Sandberg or if you’re the head clerk of a grocery store, parents need to be able to spend time with their children. But it’s hard.

In this short MAKERS video, part of a video initiative from AOL and PBS showcasing hundreds of compelling stories from trailblazing women, Sandberg talks about leaving work at 5:30 p.m. everyday to be home to eat dinner with her two young children. If you have a job that’s salaried rather than hourly, that’s easier said than done.

When I was pregnant, I assumed that I’d return to work after maternity leave. I’d always worked. Everyone I knew worked. So I returned to work. That lasted six months, and then I quit. I could not do the job I expected of myself without staying late. I felt guilty for not being home with my baby (and I just missed him). I felt guilt for not staying late enough, pitching in enough, working hard enough.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home for a few years, returning to a part-time job when preschool rolled around for my son. And Sandburg is clearly bright enough and fortunate enough to be able to afford fantastic home help so dinner is ready when she gets there. I know for most parents, leaving work at 5:30 p.m. does not mean sitting down to a pleasant dinner with the family at 6 p.m. It means driving to daycare to pick the kids up, swinging by the grocery store, unloading the car, getting something in the oven, feeding the dog, and on and on.

But good for everyone, rich or poor, who fights the good fight to put their children first.

I applaud Sandberg and her dedication to both her career and her family. I cheer her standing up for parents everywhere and saying, “Hey, I am leaving work at 5:30.”

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