Recently, my “paying” job required me to learn a new skill to complete a project. I wasted no time in getting the appropriate materials and going through the training – I don’t want to become irrelevant at my job; I need to stay current with my skills!
That got me to thinking about being a parent. Some days, particularly after reading about horrible things happening around the world – school shootings, bombings, murders, rapes, etc – I am so incredibly struck by the immense responsibility that we have as parents. Yes, I know that sometimes it doesn’t matter what we do as parents – we don’t have complete (or sometimes even much) say in who our children become.
But there are plenty of studies that show how parents and those closest to children are the biggest influences on who they grow up to be. If we’re such an important influence on our children, shouldn’t it be a priority to learn as much as I can about how to be a good parent? And to practice it daily?
So why is it so much easier for me to stay current with my skills for my job as a consultant than it is to sit down and read up on parenting?
Yes, some of it has to do with money. If I don’t keep up with my skills, I may lose my job and therefore part of my family’s income. But the thought occurred to me that it could also be because I’ve never considering being a parent as a “job” or a “career.”
Maybe thinking of it that way gives being a parent more of a negative connotation – some of us may think about how we dread getting up in the morning and going to work, and we don’t want to think of dreading spending time with our children. (Let’s be honest… we all have days where we probably would rather stay in bed than deal with a tantrum-throwing toddler!)
But what about looking at parenting as being a “job” for more of growth aspects of it. I spend time learning skills to be a better web developer – why wouldn’t/shouldn’t I be spending time learning skills to be a better parent? Obviously I was never a parent before my first was born… and I’ve never been a parent to a 3 year old until a month ago.
I feel like I had great examples with my own parents, but all kids are different and the world is a constantly changing place. In the same way that there are new technologies in my job to deal with every day – there are new issues parents have to deal with today that my parents may not have ever even thought about when I was a child.
So then the issue for me becomes time. There’s always the war for my time between my family and my job. And you know what? Probably neither of them get the amount of attention they should be getting.
Would it be better for one of them (my family, obviously) to get all the attention, than for both of them to get less than what’s required? And really, would it be so bad if I answered someone’s question of “Who are you?” with a simple: “I’m a mom!”?