Parenthood is a full-time job, but it’s one for which we aren’t really compensated or evaluated in a substantial way.
What would motherhood and fatherhood be like if we treated it more like a job?
Compensation and Evaluation
Can you imagine a job that required you to pay thousands and thousands of dollars over several decades without any compensation in return (except a measly tax cut)?
Only parenthood fits that bill. There are so many aspects of parenting that require professional-level skills, from the art of the mess-free diaper change to the science of monster-under-the-bed extermination and more serious skills like providing boundaries and structure without going overboard.
You aren’t going to get regular performance reviews, bonuses and raises for doing this job, either. Stay-at-home and working moms alike often feel unsure about what they’re doing, and unlike the professional world, there really isn’t an established channel you can go through to validate your decision-making.
Nine To Five? Sounds Nice
Another aspect of parenthood that makes it more grueling than your average job? The hours. You’re never not a parent. Most people are able to walk away from their jobs and at least leave the bulk of their work behind.
Some upcoming projects or coworker conflicts might stay on our minds over the weekend. It’s usually actually better if we can compartmentalize and leave that behind. But for most parents, especially stay-at-home moms and dads, there are no breaks unless you get a babysitter or family member to step in and help.
And even then, you’re still on call 24/7.If only parents could get state-mandated lunch breaks (or shower breaks) and overtime compensation for late-night hours.
The parents’ union probably wouldn’t get very far in collective bargaining over this issue.
Ultimately, you’re in charge, and you’ve got to captain the ship even if its passengers are cranky and threatening a tantrum if they don’t get that box of cereal they want.
The Real Boss
Of course, saying that stay- or work-at-home moms aren’t being evaluated and compensated diminishes the role of the closest person to a “boss” you have: your kids. Your kids may not reward you financially (other than that tax cut) and they may not sit you down for a quarterly performance review, but they will let you know, often without even saying it, how you’re doing.
Their Success in Life is Your Reward
Ask any parent seeing their child graduate, accept a professional award or get married to the love of their life. There are untold riches waiting for you in the form of pride, joy, love and happiness.
You don’t even have to wait a decade or two to cash in on your investment in your child. From the first step to the first day of kindergarten, you can celebrate your child’s successes and accomplishments alongside them.
You can see every hug, every scrawled crayon drawing, as a token of love more precious than any paycheck.
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