Every time I come visit my brother and his twin 4 1/2 year old daughters, my respect for working parents grows. Case in point: last night I worked on today’s blog post while sitting on the couch with one girl on my lap and the other leaning against me while they were watching tv. Normally when I tune out noise, I hear nothing. It is like I am on another planet. I could tune out the tv just fine, but I unconsciously had one ear tuned to the girls at all times because they never had to ask or tell me anything twice. I could have sworn that I scheduled yesterday’s post to be posted this morning. This afternoon,when I finally got online, I wanted to check on my stats and to my horror, yesterday’s post was still front and center. Obviously, something had gone wrong, and I would have been crushed to blow a 2 week blogging streak over a simple mistake.
I have all of the rights and privileges of aunt-hood. I get to rough house with the girls because they will never ask to do it daily because, unfortunately, I just don’t get to see them that often. Apparently, I make one of the girls “too full of giggles” to fall asleep, but it isn’t my job to put them to bed. And, best of all, I rarely have to discipline them. This makes me pretty much the best kind of adult in the world of a pre-schooler.
On the other hand, my brother is responsible for earning a living, buying groceries, making sure his picky eater gets the nutrition she needs, making 3 meals a day, buying clothes and shoes, breaking up fights, comforting crying girls and disciplining them when necessary. Honestly, I really have no idea how he does it. I have asked him several times and the best he can come up with is that “he just does.” Solely rising to the occasion is one thing. But he has also found time to teach his daughters about the importance of being considerate to others (no small feat for such little minds), as well as other values too numerous to recount here.
I have always tried to cut a little slack for working parents who were up all night with a sick child or frantically scrambling for childcare when Plan A fails at the last minute. I think it is important for us non-parents to always be mindful of all the work parents do on a daily basis. It is a job that comes without wages, breaks, vacation or sick days. Yes, parents made the choice to be parents. But they are also the ones doing the lion’s share of work raising the next generation. Personally, I think they are due some serious appreciation.