Parenting: The most exhausting job I’ve ever had

I started working when I was 16.  Up until I had children, my jobs were all white collar. I was either a secretary or a lawyer. I found both jobs challenging and tiring (and preferred secretarial work to lawyering).  When I was working as a lawyer at a big firm, I complained a lot about the 60+ hour weeks.  I always believed that I worked hard.

Then I had children.

Being a parent is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. In addition, although I haven’t always enjoyed it, it’s also the most important job I’ve ever had. Raising our nation’s next generation and caring for two vulnerable little souls matters more in the long run than my writing a good opposition to a demand for further document production.

I wonder how many other mothers, including working mothers, are offended by the Democrats’ denigration of Ann Romney — mother of five, cancer survivor, and MS sufferer — on the ground that she’s “never worked.” The Dems can walk this one back as much as they like, but it’s out there, and closely associated with a White House that apparently underpays its women.



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  • Old Buckeye

    The kind of work that Mrs. Romney was most likely to have accomplished on a daily basis is in stark contrast to the work any community organizer or hospital community affairs advisor-in-name-only have ever done.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I see that O’Bummer just complained that he and Mooch never had the “luxury” of Mooch not working. I presume that he is referencing Mooch’s $300k+ job at the U. of Chicago Medical Center while hubby was working as a poor, underpaid U.S. Senator.

    Ah well, so sad, the lives of these two overworked members of the 99%, I am sure.

    This is just the beginning of the big narcissistic melt-down. Make your popcorn and hang-on for the ride.


  • Charles Martel

    I think almost all here agree that the emotional basis of modern liberalism is envy. The constant whine by the OWSers that other people are holding their money is the simple envy that comes with the realization that some people are luckier, smarter, and more ambitious than you. It sucks to know that the only way you can make things even is to resort to government-sponsored theft.
    Radical feminism is also based on envy. First there was the envy at men not having to bear the ultimate potential consequence of intercourse, pregnancy. When the Pill and limitless abortion became available, many women succumbed to the siren song of the carefree orgasm and became like men, free to roam and shag at will.
    You’d think the envy would have stopped there. But envy is a mistress that needs feeding the way Homer Simpson needs donuts. The Fluke woman’s demands that other people (men) be forced to pay for her f**kery is yet another manifestation of envy. How come Viagra gets covered under some plans while my ability to bathe my reproductive system in hormones isn’t? The noive!
    The other element of envy was in the workplace. Friedan-inspired feminists imagined that true fulfillment consisted in working in the outside world, away from the home. In their imaginations, careers were the superhighways that would bear them swiftly to the fonts of satisfaction, prestige, fame, clout, and importance. No more slogging along the meandering, muddy paths of family life.
    But the thing that men never told the feminists, because the feminists wouldn’t have believed them, is how unbelievably tedious, dull, demanding, demeaning, and unsatisfying that work at any level can be. Throw in the different approaches between men and women in how they go to work, and you had fertile ground for the rise of a grievance industry that is almost entirely woman-centered. “He touched me;” “He looked at me;” “He lusted after me;” “He made me cry;” “He has no tact.” The endless litany of the aggrieved who want the boys’ privileges but none of their responsibilities.
    But even deeper is the feminist apprehension that women, even when united in an economic enterprise, are more often a bust than men. They see in the workplace that the most efficient and dynamic teams are either composed of men or operate on male principles of teamwork. Men can hate one another’s guts and still work together toward a common goal. I have never seen a group of women that could successfully resist the urge to form cliques and engage in back-stabbing when the stakes got high. At a lower level in the economy, among small businesses and small corporations, you can get away with this. At higher levels, it is a rare woman executive who will surround herself with women.
    So from the realization that careers are not the wonderful agents of fulfillment that leftist imaginations thought they were comes the envy of men’s ability to put up with the bullshit of the outside world without resorting to the array of pouts and whines that modern feminists do. When you realize that you’re not very good at being a man, either in bed or in the boardroom, you have to decide whether to lose the envy or blame its never-ending hunger pangs on yet another patriarchal conspiracy to deny you your full personhood.
    All of that said, I would rather live in an era when women have the choice of where they make their stands—the home, the workplace, or some combination of the two. There are too many exceptionally bright women out there for our society not to use their energy and talents. The rub comes when some women demand that we deliver on their illusions—or else. 

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  • Earl

    Insightful stuff, Martel…..I especially recognized (SO politically incorrect) the paragraph about men and women and teamwork.  Wow!  Takes me back to grade school.  The guys played football, and the top players got chosen whether we liked them or not….in fact, even if we hated their guts for something they had done/said.  Meanwhile, over on the basketball court, the girls were screaming, crying, and pulling hair.  The guys looked at each other, shrugged, and got back to the game.
    The only thing I wanted to quibble with was this: “…how unbelievably tedious, dull, demanding, demeaning, and unsatisfying that work at any level can be.”  I taught high school, college, and university Biology classes, and the “demanding” part I identified with immediately!  No one who hasn’t done this – and taken it genuinely seriously, has any idea.  But at first I read the rest of those descriptors and said “No, Charles….not teaching.” 
    Then I noticed the verb you used…”can” – and thought back over the years.  Grading the written exams, reading reports, research papers, etc. of students who really should have been in vocational school (or English as a second language classes) was both tedious and dull….awful.  There were days when I felt demeaned – not by the work I was doing, but by the people who had been chosen to lead the institution.  Very few days were “unsatisfying”, but they WERE there….just that my interactions with my students overshadowed them to the point that it’s an effort of will to think back and remember those days.  So, I think you got it right even in that paragraph.
    I will say this….now that I’m retired, I go to a church in which half a dozen or more physicians and dentists were my students.  At the hospital where I volunteer, I see one or another of the guys/girls I taught (at one level or another) almost every day I’m there.  It’s incredibly satisfying!

  • Danny Lemieux

    “Envy is a mistress that needs feeding the way Homer Simpson needs donuts.” – that’s a keeper, with full attribution to the Great Martel. 



    I really must invest in one of those Mayan calendars. At first I dismissed the entire “end of the world” date as hogwash. Then … I remembered this quote:

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    Between the Black Panther “kill or capture” wanted poster for Zimmerman, Eric Holder playing kissey face with Rev. Al and Hellery Rosen attacking Ann Romney, who is not running for public office; I’ve concluded that he’s appointed, condoned and funded the “uncivilian national security force”.  

  • Danny Lemieux

    No worries, SADIE: we, too, are armed.

    The States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois alone can field forces of several hundred thousand gun-toting conservatives (hunters) each as our own security forces. 

    It’s certainly enough to make your average Liberal/Lefties scream like little girls and run for cover and make your average New Black Panther meekly ask for permission to pee.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, California east of the coastal mountains and north of the Los Angeles Basin could field about 300,000 armed conservatives. And they are far better shots than the cosseted, de-balled careerists that pose as cops in places like Berkeley and Santa Monica.

  • Danny Lemieux

    And, let’s not forget…we’ve got the trump card: Texas! 

  • gpc31

    I’m going to make a few personal observations from a slightly different angle.  I’m married to a wonderful woman who is a 1970s’ vintage feminist (a fine whine!), a typical Northeast Democrat,and an entirely career-driven workaholic:  no kinder, kirche, and kuchen for her.

    My job enables me to work from home and so I’ve spent the better part of a decade raising the children.  Prior to that I worked in corporate America.  Given my role reversal, I think I can speak from experience in making two points:

    1) White collar working mothers often suffer from guilt, envy and incomprehension when they disparage stay at home moms.  They feel guilt over not spending enough time with their own kids; they envy stay at home moms for their imagined leisurely lifestyle (“ladies who lunch”); and they simply do not realize the thousand and one little logistical details that go into running a household.  And there’s no vacation time.

    Having lopped off part of who they are–their mothering instinct–they are haunted by a phantom pain.

    2) The suburban mom infrastructure is amazing:  A network of intelligent, well-educated moms who make things work.
    The Anchoress had a great post on this topic.  Of course the credentialists devalue parenting:  you don’t need a PhD to do it, only lots of love and phronesis.

  • shirleyelizabeth

    What’s funny to me is how well this coincides with a recent experience of mine. I was called up and offered a position at a company that knows of me from a former job. It would have been a great opportunity for me professionally at a very mom-friendly place, as many in the office are working moms, including the owner. They spent an hour convincing me to come work for them, offering flexible hours, rides to and from (since we don’t have a second car yet), not caring that I’ll be having my next kid in a few months (felt good to be wanted…). But, after days of debating, I couldn’t feel right about it. The response to my apologies was basically, “Well I’m not surprised. Go have fun doing nothing with your life.”
    When my husband and I got married, we made an agreement that we would both do anything it took for the family we were setting up, but, as means would allow, he would provide and I would nurture his children. We’ve just got one so far, so I happily supplement our income with what I can do on the side (thanks to connections from a former brief career). If this arrangement offends or upsets some ladies, or causes them to look down on me, I’ve really nothing to say to them.

  • Bookworm

    Y’all are making one good point after another. I can’t remember where I read it, but someone pointed out that there is almost certainly a concerted effort on the part of the White House, starting with Obama’s remark — before Rosen opened her mouth on air — to the effect that poor Michelle had to work.  No she didn’t.  She had to work if they wanted to maintain their lavish yuppy life style.  She could have made the choice to stay home, even if it meant homeschooling the kids, or perhaps moving to a more affordable neighborhood or community.

    My sister lives in a really poor community where the women truly have to work if there is to be food on the table.  In my neighborhood, some of us are lucky enough to be full time Moms (and, as in my case, we’re also caregivers for elderly parents).  Some of us work part time.  And some work because they feel that the benefits of this community outweigh having a Mom around 24/7.  Given how great our community is, I think that’s a valid choice, because the kids’ peers are so great, but it’s still a choice.

    By the way, gpc31, a family in our neighborhood has a working mom and a stay-at-home dad.  It’s one of the happiest families in the neighborhood too.  I think part of that is because it was a conscious decision on both parents’ part, rather than a situation in which a driven career woman suddenly found herself surrounded by diapers and screaming babies.

  • Earl

    Am I just ‘way behind the times, or is shirleyelizabeth a bit of a newbie here?  
    If the latter, then “Welcome!”….if the former, just be kind and ignore this.
    Whichever, what I want to say is that I think you made the right choice, shirleyelizabeth!  My wife and I did similarly when we got married, and we drove one car most of the time and put up with the inconvenience.  We chose carefully and lived right where I worked, and the kids did a lot of walking, but she didn’t work (outside the home) full-time until they were in school and we were paying tuition.  The dividends are great, even if they come slowly…..  I’ll say a prayer for y’all.  And as for those rude enough to question your decisions for your family, I say “Spit in their eye!”

  • shirleyelizabeth

    Hello to you. I have followed for a long while and comment every couple of months. My age and experience puts me at more of a “lurker” status in the comments, as most often I learn more than I could ever add.

  • Simplemind

    Oh Gawd yes. I am a practicing lawyer, wife a doctor. We got married late and had kids later.  Now 3 kids, 8 6 4. Very much harder to be dad and mom.  Most important titles we will ever hold . . .