All parents have a tough job, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, grandparent that takes on a parenting role, adoptive parent, step-parent, or a parent that works daily, nightly, or sometimes both.
It’s not fair to say this type of parent works more or harder than that type of parent, or is more loving, or cares more. Every ounce of parenting is difficult and challenging…yet each also has its own rewards and benefits.
In our house, we have what many would consider an old-fashioned home life and family: we have two kids, Mom stays at home, and Dad is the sole bread winner. We have debts, a mortgage, and car payments. We live paycheck to paycheck, have our concerns and worries as well as ups and downs, and make memories living our day-to-day life.
Yes, Mom’s “job” is difficult and generally thankless, but let’s not forget how challenging and full of stress Dad’s job is too.
He gets up early or late, works long hours and overtime, stresses constantly about keeping his job (especially in this economy), and misses out on a lot of what is going on with his family, especially in terms of how his kids are growing up and what they are experiencing. There’s a lot of pressure put on fathers/step-fathers/grandfathers/father figures, yet they somehow do it, day in and day out, taking it in stride…at least on the outside. (Remember our hormones, ladies? Yeah, guys tend to not have those emotional swings and moods due to a lack of those.)
He misses most of those special “firsts.” He’s not able to kiss away a lot of boo-boos and tears or soothe fears. He can’t be present for many outings, adventures, and experiences. It’s not that that’s how he prefers it; that’s just part of the “job” as a father. And we shouldn’t think for a moment that it’s easy on him.
No, I’m not forgetting about stay-at-home fathers/grandfathers/etcetera. In homes where the roles are reversed, those stay-at-home dads have it tough: constant stress, being pulled in a multitude of directions, worrying about who’s doing what, wondering why everything is suddenly quiet in the house, and so on.
Each type of parent has it tough and their role has daily challenges. It’s no walk in the park, and one doesn’t have it easier than the other. Having kids and raising a family are (generally speaking) two-person jobs. Neither parent does this or that more, has an easier time at “work,” or deserves a break or recognition more than the other.
As a stay-at-home mother, I tend to forget that Bandage Dad doesn’t have it easier because he “goes to work” while I stay home. That he would prefer to be with us than work extra hours or fly to New Jersey on a business trip. That he does wish he was going with us to the zoo for the umpteenth time already this year. That he would rather stay at home to take care of the boys because I can’t shake a cold that I’ve been battling for weeks.
My “job” is entirely different from his, yet it’s also very similar. We both miss out on things, we both worry and stress, we both work long hours, and we both would rather switch roles just for a day for a break in the monotony and routine.
Then again, we also wouldn’t change the way things are, simply because we’re working together to raise this family, in very different ways, that are so far successful and advantageous to each one of us.
So on Father’s Day, let’s remember that, no matter how it may appear or what we may think, Dad’s job is just as difficult as Mom’s, even if those challenges differ and vary. His job isn’t easy. Be sure to thank him.
But don’t just thank him on Father’s Day. Thank him periodically, for no apparent reason, as well. He may not gush about it, his eyes may not swell up with tears from his appreciation, but it will certainly make him feel…amazing.
Happy Father’s Day,