The Value of Parenting

Parenting is like a job. I mean, it IS a full-time job, but it also parallels the aspects of a job one would hold, like being a CEO of a company. Think about it.

I had a dream the other night in which I found myself with a house full of children–my own and a friend’s, not that I don’t have enough of my own children. My husband and I proudly claim seven children ranging in age between thirty and nine, as well as five grandchildren ages one to nine, so you can understand how kids often invade my sleep both literally and figuratively.

So in the dream, after settling the baby with a diaper change and making sure the older four were playing kindly, the three year old brings me a broken toy and says in an adorable voice, “We have a problem.”

I think to myself, as I have hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of times over the past thirty parenting years, “I’m never going to get anything done today at this rate.” And immediately it strikes me, ( you know like the V-8 commercials!) This IS what you’re getting done!

Managing problems, putting out fires, running “bored” meetings, handling disputes, brainstorming how to organize, providing luncheons, arranging schedules, financing projects, explaining policy, enforcing policy, training future executives; and creating a pleasant, instructional, fun, productive environment in which all that takes place defines parenting on a daily basis. Oh, I forgot to mention performing emergency medical procedures or transportation as well.

Take it a step further and think about this:

Would any of us take on a new job without some form of job training? As we step into any employment, we naturally attempt to learn all we can about how to do the job effectively, efficiently or at least adequately. We may take classes, learn from another employee or attend a job training seminar. And during the course of our employment we probably continue our education at least every year. Even when we go home, we might read books, magazines and binders full of company policy to further our knowledge and ensure we do our job well.

But, when it comes to parenting, a job that has far more significance and complications than any employment we will ever hold, we often neglect this instruction and figure we’ll just have to wing it. Don’t we flounder along wondering if we’re doing it right, or getting it done at all? It’s so helpful when we ask questions of older parents, read books about training kids and have discussions with others about what works for them.

In addition to that, we think, as I have, that we aren’t actually accomplishing anything worthwhile during our day. How grossly in error we are! Every hug, answered question, moment of training and discipline, every shirt washed or meal prepared is a task of greater value than anything we may tackle in a day at the office even if it has no monetary gain because the investment is in a life…or multiple lives.

Along the way, the dividends in smiles, hugs, cute phrases, hilarious questions and “I love you Mommy. I love you Daddy.” are so worth every ounce of energy we invest in learning how to do this job well and giving that to our kids. What did I invest in today? What did you?


For parenting resources I’ve found helpful try

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