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Parenting Is Work, Regardless of Your Job

Photograph by Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Lately, I feel like articles about stay-at-home parents are exploding: How they're working, too. How it's difficult to get anything done with kids around. How you have no privacy. The lists go on and on.

Then I saw this set of photos, and it was the tipping point for me. I know it's supposed to be just a sweet and funny look at being a stay-at-home parent. I really get that. But the thing is, nearly all of those things? I do them too. So shouldn't it just be what it means to be a parent?

Cooking dinner with a toddler running around? I do that. Struggling to keep the living room floor clear of toys? Check. Going to the bathroom with my toddler in tow? I do that. Mountains of laundry? I do that. No privacy? Check. Taking kids to Target, to the park, to appointments? I do that. All the things every parent does every day to raise their children and run a household? Yep, I do that.

I just have about 10 hours less per day to do them in, because in those 10 hours, I'm either working or commuting.

Look, I have lots of respect for stay-at-home parents. I know it's hard to be with your kid 24/7. I can imagine sometimes you just want a minute to yourself to drink your coffee or run to the bathroom or go to a doctor's appointment alone.

Do I get to do those things? Sure, I do. But the thing is, it's not like I'm just sitting around doing nothing while I'm drinking that cup of coffee. I'm checking my work email, doing reports, filing expenses, and all the other things that come with my job. When I run to the restroom, I'm not sitting in there leisurely. I have to get back to work quickly or I won't get my work done that day. I eat lunch at my desk while working.

My lunch break is usually spent on the gym, errands, and doctors appointments. If I can't fit those things in at lunch, it either takes away from my family time or my PTO (which I never seem to have enough of and I'm terrified to use in case one of us gets sick). Being at work all day is not a break from your kids. It's work.

But you know what else is work? Parenting in general.

Can't we all just agree that it's hard no matter what? I am hardly the first to say it, and I know I won't bee the last, but can't we just stop categorizing parents and just agree that we're all parents and we're all trying our best? That we all love our kids and we all struggle with all kinds of things and we all need support and help sometimes?

Let's see less of the categories. Let's support and lift each other up regardless of our employment status. Because we all share a universal truth: Being a parent is hard work before we even add anything else to it. Let's not make it harder.

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