Being a parent is a thankless job. But being a working parent may be even more thankless. There’s no end to the tasks of being a parent like wiping noses, changing diapers, dropping kids off at daycare, cleaning, cooking and an endless list of other daily to-dos. Add to that list a day job, and I am blown away by how full a single day must be. This isn’t to say that being a working parent versus a stay-at-home-parent is any more deserving of appreciation, only that there are tons of articles out there about how hard it is to be a stay-at-home-parent (as there should be!) but very few about the sacrifices of being a working parent.
I originally was going to write about working fathers but realized that’s cutting out all of the hard working mothers out there! While I didn’t mean to be exclusive, the inspiration for writing about this topic came from seeing my husband struggle to leave the house this morning to go to work, leaving me and our two sick boys at home.
Chris (my husband) is continually heartbroken what few experiences he can be a part of with his children, especially while they are so young (3-years-old and 4-months-old). He may miss our baby sitting on his own for the first time and our toddler learning to write his first letter. I can only imagine the difficulty of only seeing your kids in the morning and evening, barely enough time to discover how they have changed and what they did and learned every day.
Now, I am a stay-at-home-mom who also works from home on this blog. But, I have the privilege of working for myself, have nobody to answer to and there’s no commute. I’m truly fortunate, though I would never call my life easy.
My husband on the other hand doesn’t have the luxury of staying home (either to work or be a stay-at-home-dad). We need his income to pay the mortgage, buy diapers, pay for doctor visits, and purchase food to eat. Without him doing his long commute, working long hours and then doing another long commute home five days a week, I have no idea how we would survive as a family.
While we have somewhat traditional family roles (working father and stay-at-home-mother), other families may have two working parents with childcare to deal with or a mother who works and a dad that stays home with the kids. No one combination will work for every family. I’m sure that if I could make more money than my husband, I would be the main working parent. Also, if childcare wasn’t so expensive where I live, we may both be working with our kids in daycare or with a nanny.
What I do continually see is the working parent struggling to master being a parent with the limited time he or she has to devote to their children. Each month (and sometimes each day) brings changes and new challenges as kids learn and develop new skills and emotions. Even if you stay home to care for your children, it’s hard to keep up with them!
So, to the working parents, thank you. Thank you for supporting your family by sacrificing your time and energy away from your kids, for loving your family enough to work even when it’s hard. Thank you for providing stability for your family. Thank you for trying as hard as you can to be a good parent in the, sometimes, limited time you have with your children. Thank you to all working moms and dads for doing their best for their kids no matter what.
Other articles you may like:
- What to Buy Dad for Father’s Day: Geek Edition
- The Isolation of Parenthood: Finding Support
- Meet the KrisBeeMama Hive