10 Reasons Parenting Is the World's Hardest Job
6) THE LACK OF CONTROL
I'm not sure how super-type-A people survive as parents, because I'm a super-type-B person and the lack of control that comes with parenting drives me batty sometimes. The sad truth is that you can't actually make a child sleep. Or potty train. Or stop crying. You can't force a child to listen. Or obey. Or be kind.
And honestly, during my "good" parenting moments, I wouldn't want to control those things. I truly believe that parenting is about gently watering a young sapling, weeding the soil around it, making sure it gets the light and nutrients it needs, and letting it grow and blossom at its own pace. When I'm in a good parenting place, I'm focused on mining the undiscovered, uncut gems from inside the child and helping to polish them into pristine brilliance.
But in my weary parenting moments, I just want the little offsprings to do what I ask without question, treat each other nicely without being reminded, and go to frickin' sleep at bedtime.
And those moments happen frequently.
7) THE MESS
I've determined that certain children of mine are physically incapable of putting dirty clothes into any kind of receptacle.
Also, I could sweep and vacuum fifteen times a day, and there would still be crumbs and crapplies on the floor.
Have you ever brought the baby carseat into the bathtub before removing the baby because her poo squirted out the back of her diaper, up her back, and into her neck rolls? I have.
Our car looks like the aftermath of a frat party, our walls are stained with handprints from God-knows-what combination of dirt and food, I've stepped on more LEGO pieces than I can count, and I'm pretty sure that stuffed animals reproduce all on their own.
I'm no Martha Stewart, but I swear I'm not that untidy of a person. Kids are messy. At least 90% of the kids I know are. Keeping up with cleanliness is like fighting an uphill battle in an avalanche.
8) THE PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY COULD DO IT BETTER
When we were in the throes of potty-training our first kid, we had a friend visit from out of town. As he witnessed our toddler toilet-training two-step, he proceeded to tell us how he'd just watched a Dr. Phil episode about potty-training in one weekend. "Seriously," he confidently advised, "All you have to do is X, Y, and Z."
As if we hadn't tried X, Y, and Z. As if we hadn't tried A, B, C, F, J, K, L, M, N, O, and P as well. Multiple times.
We loved our friend. We loved him even more when his first child took an extra long time to potty train. Karma can be a beautiful thing.
9) THE SOCIETAL CESSPOOL
As if parenting isn't hard enough already, we now have dozens of television channels, thousands of books and magazines, and tens of thousands of websites vying for our children's attention. We have media selling our kids a bill of goods that often appears way more attractive than what we're trying to instill in them. And most of it is absolute crap.
And how about technology? Figuring out how to determine and monitor screen-time alone is practically a full-time job. Technology can open whole new worlds of learning and exploration, but literally one click away is a world of sick and twisted depravity. It's terrifying.
You want your kids to reap the benefits of technology without the pitfalls. You don't want your kids to be so sheltered that they don't know how to handle the garbage that's out there, but you don't want to expose them to the garbage that's out there in order to prepare them. Striking a healthy balance is crazy tricky
10) THE LOVE
This is the biggest one of all. The truth is, if we didn't love our children, they'd be a lot easier to raise. We wouldn't feel compelled to worry about them, to figure out what's best for them, to keep them healthy and safe. We'd sleep through the night and let them wail until they turn blue. We'd plop them in front of the television with Cheetos and root beer to keep them quiet, and go about our days in peace.
Love is what makes you get up at 3:00am to chase away bad dreams, dutifully wipe a butt for the 2035th time, and agonize over meal-planning and screen-time limits. Love is what makes you put up with the power struggles, the endless variations of crying and whining, the constant physical and emotional upheaval children bring to your life.
But here's the real kick-in-the-pants when it comes to #10, and the reason this list is not as doom-and-gloom as it may seem:
Love is also the reward you get for all of the things in this list.
That heart-swelling, earth-shattering, all-consuming love for your kids is what creates the challenges of parenting, yet make them all worthwhile. It's the cause of your woes, yet also the cure. It's the force that drives you to near-madness, yet the balm that soothes your battered heart. Love makes parenting tougher, but it also makes it easier.
Your kid could have just thrown the biggest tantrum on planet Earth, but when he looks up at you with his shining eyes and toothy grin, you fall head-first into that gushy cloud of kid-love that has propelled the human race forward for millennia. It's kind of a twisted but beautiful joke that only parents get.
Those are some of my reasons parenting is the world's toughest job. What tops the list for you?