How Parenting is (Kind Of) Like Any Other Job

Parenting is by far the best, and hardest, job I have ever had. While there is nothing quite like it, I couldn’t help but notice some parallels between parenting and the more familiar professional arenas:

Investment banking: The hours are insane and the sleep deprivation is real. You are sleeping 4-5 hours, maybe. The rest of the time you are feeding, changing a diaper, or trying to calm down your fussing baby. It comes out to be like 130 hour week. Take that Wall Street. Money Parents Never Sleep.

Consulting: Consulting people always like to say that “everyday is different”, consulting “keeps you on your toes”, because “you are constantly learning”. It’s the same with a baby. No two days are the same. Today she might sleep like an angel, and tomorrow she will go on a sleep strike. One day she refuses to eat and the next she will eat nonstop. Just when you think you have a routine nailed down, there will be a growth spurt, or sleep regression, or teething, or cold, or something. There will always be something new to figure out. Something to keep you on your toes.

Healthcare: Tending to all and any discomforts. Regularly coming in contact, and becoming very unfazed and familiar, with all kinds of bodily fluids. Unlike a doctor, you are never not on call.  

Law: There are few black and white rules, but exceptions abound. You try your best to avoid those slippery slopes, while following the spirit of your parenting principals as much as possible. Some will try to strictly follow the letter of each rule, while others will heed more to the changing times and circumstances. Most decisions are made based on facts and circumstances, and “it depends” is almost always the right answer.

Tech: The initial rewards are not insignificant, but full amount only realizes when your child steps out of your private nest and into the big public world. You pour your heart and soul into your baby, hoping one day everyone else will value her as much as you. And despite the statistics, you fervently believe your baby is a unicorn. Meanwhile, you live in sweats and PJs, and snack 24/7 because proper meals, like real clothes, are a thing of the past.

Education: You are nurturing and inspiring little minds, and it is extremely rewarding and meaningful. You are making a world of difference and humanity literally can’t go on without you. Yet support, appreciation, and recognition are painfully lacking. You regularly pay for both necessities and extras out of you own pocket, even if you can scarcely afford to, but you do it because you love them.

Like all jobs, there’s a fair amount of Zoom calls, because it’s only way to introduce your baby to friends and family these days.

Unlike any other job, there’s no vacation or PTO. Ever.

P.S. My husband astutely pointed out that these disproportionately highlight the downside of having kids, and who would after reading this? Here’s what convinced me: FOMO.