Is parenthood a "job"?

As if there isn’t enough confusion, controversy and subjects that you just stay the hell AWAY from if you don’t want to start a fire-pissing match when it comes to being a parent- why don’t we just throw another one to the top of the pile?

I didn’t actually have any idea when I referred to parenthood as a “job” that anyone had an issue with it. I’ve spent such a long time considering it as and calling it one without anyone cringing or making the stank face or biting my head off that I suppose I figured it was common to call it one. Maybe I just don’t pay close enough attention to what other people think to notice- anything is possible at this point.

Upon referring to parenthood as a “job” recently, I was recently met for the first time with distaste. The response from this person was that parenthood is not at all a job, yet a “choice” we make- for our children didn’t choose to be brought into this world- we were the ones who made that choice.

Honestly, I’m kind of confused by that (what’s new?)- and it isn’t because I can’t see it from that point of view or because I don’t agree- but the logic behind it doesn’t really add up to me.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past 5 or so years, it is that parenthood is TOUGH. It is HARD work. Not just mentally or emotionally, but physically as well.
If parenthood consisted only of the decision to have the child, only of the choice- then no, I suppose it wouldn’t be able to be labeled a job. The thing is, we do all kinds of exhausting and difficult tasks after that decision is made. Parenthood isn’t just deciding to have a baby- it’s carrying that child and making sure it is properly cared for inside of yourself, and then once shoved or yanked into this world- parenthood is manual labor; it is cleaning up messes and wounds; it’s staying up late worrying or trying to get things done that you couldn’t get done because you were too busy feeding and diapering and counseling and helping;  it is caring for a little person that depends solely on you (and the other parent if there is one around) for its needs while also trying to take care of yourself and your home.

Yes it was a choice; with Holden it was even one I planned on- knowing what I was getting into (or… y’know… I thought so!)  – but isn’t accepting a job offer the same thing? A choice we make, knowing what we’ll be doing? One we take and are aware of the responsibilities and the expectations (even if we can’t always live up to them)? We may not have desks or cubicles or a register or a time clock to punch in and out of- no, maybe we don’t have any of that- but we have entire houses or apartments and little humans that never let us go “off the clock”- isn’t that work, too?
I understand the negative connotation behind the word “job” as it relates to something as special as being a parent. I think a lot of times, people assume when you use the word “job”- it’s a bad thing. We all unfortunately don’t always have the opportunity to accept a job that is something we LOVE to do. Most jobs aren’t really even all that enjoyable (I know NONE of mine were)- but sometimes people can get really lucky and find a job they absolutely love to do and jump up and down when the offer to do this job is extended to them. THAT is what parenthood is to me. It’s my DREAM JOB.

Sure, I have aspirations and passions outside of being a parent (as most of us do outside of any other job)- but the funny thing is… my job as a parent GAVE those things to me. It showed me the kind of person I am, and what I really want to do. No, the job of parent never ends- but it can allow for some moonlighting. I work my ass off every single day- why shouldn’t I consider everything I do a job? And why should we belittle the work that goes into parenthood by saying “well, it was a choice” and nothing else?

I don’t know about all of you- whether or not you think parenthood is simply an honor, or a privilege  and should never be called “work” or “job” because maybe you think it just sounds like those of us who do are complaining about the workload and not focusing on the positive… but I personally think I am privileged and honored to be able to have the best JOB ever, and I don’t take that for granted.

 The pay may be next to nothing, but the benefits are amazing!

Posted on January 24, 2013 by Holdin' Holden 5 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • i have to agree with you! there are days ANY parent has thought about throwing the towel in but DIDN’T! like today for instants my son is being referred to a surgeon to have a cyst removed from his hand i wont sleep worth a shit till its done and over with and it could be weeks before the surgery even happens! it is a JOB! the worry the tears the heart ache im fixing to endure scares the hell outta me but my son needs me im his parent

  • Well said!!!!!! Thanks so much for giving voice to all of the subjects that some of us can’t find the right words to express our feelings about!!! You keep things in perspective and still show us the hilarious side of things and that makes life much more enjoyable!!! Keep up the good work ,because so many of us Moms need the laughs to get us through our days! And with that said, I need to get back to my job and check on my Seventeen year old that has been sick on his stomach all day 🙂

  • What’s really funny is I went back and looked at my comment.. just to make sure I wasn’t “that” person.


    Job/responsibility/gift/chinese water torture.. Parenting varies day to day based on all of our moods…

    Not everyone is going to agree.
    At the end of the day, if the person who disagreed with your verbage, is still in the front lines being a good mom…
    Great. Wonderful.

    That was the point of it all… right?
    No matter what type of mom you are SAHM or Working Mom… As long as you are doing what (in your mind) is right for your child(ren)… it’s all worth it?

  • I was a stay at home mom until Thomas was in Kindergarten. I loved it, Hated it, enjoyed it and also considered it my JOB. It helped me to get through the other jobs I have had because it taught me that no matter what happens on the job there is a reward somewhere in it. Or why did I not just give them up for adoption.
    We make a choice in whatever JOB we take. Parenthood while a choice is also a JOB. If you work in the medical field you made the CHOICE to go to school and work in it.
    Just like people with money make the CHOICE to give the JOB of raising their children to others by hiring Nannies etc.
    I commend you on your CHOICE of JOBs

  • Those of us who choose to have children do make a “choice” but parenting is still a job. I agree with you in that people also choose their jobs. I mean you don’t graduate and have a job handed to you, you have to work for it! I have the experience of being a working Mom and a SAHM and it is significantly harder to be a SAHM. However, whether you work or stay at home being a parent is hard! The crazy thing is in a “job” you get to clock out and leave it behind (theoretically) yet as a parent there is no time off. We might get a break now and then but we are always a parent. People retire from working but you don’t retire from being a parent, I should know I’ve got grown kids plus littles still! I wonder if the person who made the comment that sparked this post even has a child? I would say no. Seriously if you don’t have children of your own then your point of view is skewed because a person without kids will not have a full understanding of what we parents go though on a daily basis whether we “work” or not.