When One Parent Considers Their Role a “Job”
This strikes me as an interesting question. Has it ever occurred to you? Have you ever found yourself thinking “this is the hardest job I’ve ever had?” Well, it did not occur to me until I had a heart-felt conversation with my husband last month.
He was describing his typical day at home, the driving to school, the marathon shopping run, the school pick up, the speed-cooking and speed-eating dinners and the dash out to dance class and back. The now-time-pressured bedtime routine as the clock passes 8:00pm and you so desperately want those kids in bed with lights out to do this all over again tomorrow. My husband can do all this on a strict “every minute counts” schedule.
In his mathematical mind he has boiled down each activity to an equation of seconds and minutes and goes from A to B to C all while on a countdown within himself. WOW!
I, on the other hand am more laid back. I have a schedule and I value “being present”. I give time for discussion and time for slow-downs because sometimes kids need help getting out the door, or getting in the door. I go less by the time on the clock and more by the rhythm of the day. I still get things done in good time.
A Difference in Views
This realization stopped me mid-conversation. I was really surprised and intrigued to notice this differentiation between us. So he feels that it is his “Job” to take care of the children. He feels the same pressure to perform house hold chores and get kids to places on time as he would meeting work deadlines and having a boss evaluate his progress! He bustles around the house with the same energy and speed and determination as someone with a grand purpose.
But I do not…
What “Parenting” Means To Me
In my opinion parenting is “a way of life”. I chose to be a parent. I was lucky, blessed. I did it expecting to make sacrifices. I am a caring person by nature, and I feel it is important to help others first. Parenting is fun for me and gives me a sense of pride and joy, and wonder about the future.
Where as my laid back nature radiates positivity and passion, it is easy to see how others might become overwhelmed.
The Role of Gender in Parenting
So I was so intrigued to learn that my partner and I had such contrasting views of parenting obligations that I set off to conduct an unofficial research poll over social media.
I asked parents who self identified as mothers and those who self-identified as fathers to answer “yes” or “no” to whether or not they felt parenting was a “job”.
What Other Parents Had to Say: Results From My Social Media Poll
My capture of social media ended up being small, although the poll was sent out over many platforms and many viewers. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being the most used. I could not design an official poll from my Facebook page, so I posted it as a general interest comment.
Availability, interest and engagement seemed to be the largest reason for small sample size. I was still impressed by the results. I am bursting to share the findings!
But first, some things to note about limitations:
More people that identified as ” dad” responded to the poll overall in comparison to people who identified as “mom”. (This may have biases some of the results)
Sample sizes of both groups where vary small and may not be generalizable to larger populations with more equal sample sizes.
The poll merely captured people who wanted to respond and had time to respond over a time sensitive 48 hour period.
Social Media Results From My Poll: Do Dads See The Role As Their “Job”?
Social media results from my poll:
Over a 48 hour period 8 people replied to my poll question “do you consider being a dad your “job”?
The results were 63% “yes” for dads!
Only 37% replied “no”.
Social Media Results From My Poll: Do Moms See The Role As Their “Job”?
Social media results from my poll:
Over a 48 hour period only 5 people replied to my poll question “do yo consider being a mom your “job”?
The results where only 20% “yes” for moms
The large majority -80% replied “no”
Discussion of The Results
So now I am really curious! Why is it that men or people who identify with the “dad” role tend to see the role more as a “job”, and why women, or people who identify as “mom” the vast majority do not consider parenting a “job”?
It is because of long-standing old fashion views that traditionally dad would work outside the home, traditionally being industrious and likely the “bread winner”.
Or is it just a dad thing, that everything is a job?
And similarly why do most women or moms, NOT consider their role a “job”?
Because traditionally we are the caretakers and child-raisers?
Or because we are more likely to take time off of our real job to care for children as needed? So that changes our idea of what a “job” is to us?
The dynamics seems multi-factorial, and unfortunately for my inquiring mine, although some people responded to the poll, no one left any comments at all. Comments would have been really helpful to help us understand what parents really think of their roles and why?!
How The Results Influenced Us
As for the results and reflection of our own personal discussion, my husband and I have changed a few things for ourselves. I feel that since my partner feels that he is “always on”, even though he is at home, he does not recharge the same way I do.
He does best with a specific time to wind-down at the end of the day, on his terms in his own way. That he can have his time. As a supportive partner, I help create and maintain this time for him.
As for me, I am not so regimented. I recharge when I get 5 minutes uninterrupted to have a few sips of tea or coffee. I recharge in a few minutes of silence, or a few minutes of sitting on the couch before I get up to redirect my attention into the next full on endeavor. Some people seem to work best with short frequent breaks and others seem to prefer long, consolidated hard work, and a long wind-down time afterwords, with the reassurance that they will not have to get up to go back to another round of “work”.
Once again the old adage is true, a good relationship is all about compromise! When you take the focus off the disagreements and work on adjusting the subtleties, you enhance the team work.