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Parenting – The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

So, we’ve all heard the old cliche – “Parenting is the most difficult job you’ll ever have.” But if you had to break it down, what would you say makes this statement so commonly shared?


I’d say there are so many different reasons, and they fall into two different categories. For example, you have the Physical category and the Emotional category. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but here are my thoughts about what falls into each category, making up the grand challenges of the parenting role…

Parenting – The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love – Physical Tolls

  • Sleepless nights: whether they’re an infant who’s not yet sleeping through the night, a toddler or school aged child who’s ill and not sleeping well, or a teen who’s out late with friends… all contribute to parents not getting a good night’s rest.
  • Laundry: So many loads of endless laundry, especially during the infant stages. I can recall doing laundry almost every day; load after load of bibs and onesies. Then, as the kids get bigger, the many loads continue as the clothes get bigger.
  • Cooking/feeding: The food thing is also an all day feat. Babies can only eat baby food, and they need to be fed frequently. By time you prepare all the dishes, and feed the little ones, then eat for yourself, an hour plus has easily passed. As the kids get older, now you’re dealing with cooking for a larger group, packing school lunches, trying to feed everyone healthy foods, etc. You also need to hit the grocery store more often to keep up with the food needs.

Parenting – The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love – Emotional Strain

  • Care-giving: Let’s start where we left off at the last category… raising a child and hoping every day that you are doing everything right is a huge burden. As it’s so often said, there’s no text book on how to raise children, so we’re dealing on a daily basis with something that technically has no answers. This is emotionally draining. Parents want to be sure they’re doing everything right, yet, they will never know for sure.
  • Discipline: All children go through their phases of behavioral challenges. Start with the terrible twos, and take it all the way beyond the teen years. Staying on top of this and keeping children in check requires discipline on our own part. Parents are always searching for the most recommended or tried and true practices for what works… and the “experts” are always coming back with something new. This is an area you don’t want to screw up in, so we pour a lot of brain power and emotions into it.
  • Monetary: The additions to the family bring on the financial stresses. Now, we have more mouths to feed, bodies to clothe, little ones to entertain, and young adults to college educate. Managing the bank accounts so you have enough to “go around” and still make it on an occasional vacation, meanwhile planning a retirement? It’s a financial Rubik’s Cube.
  • Worries: I’ve heard it’s pointless to worry about something, but how one can achieve a worry free lifestyle with kids is beyond me. When my son was three weeks old, he had to have surgery. I was overcome with worry when they wheeled him into the operating room. And, it didn’t end there. How about that first bike ride alone to the nearby dollar store? Or, the first date? Or, taking the car out for a spin to test out the new driver’s license? Need I go on?

It’s no wonder I’m not the same person I was before kids. Raising my children truly has been an eye opening experience that has helped me grow and shape me into who I am today. I’m guessing it’s not over yet. I’m sure there’s more to come as they continue to get older, get married, and have kids of their own. I often wonder what I will be like as a grandparent? Only time will tell.

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