“The Hardest Job In The World?” Really?!

Maybe it’s because I’m someone who, until very recently, had a very difficult and somewhat dangerous job, but it absolutely drives me up the wall when parents (from my observation, it’s usually been moms) claim that being a parent (usually a mom) is “the hardest job in the world.” I see it and hear it all the time. Few statements that aren’t intentionally offensive piss me off faster. And I’ve even seen that claim made in completely serious conviction, and even done to intentionally degrade non-parents (we’re lazy, nothing we do matters, etc.) It’s just a very irritating statement from a position of ignorance and pretentiousness.

I do not deny that being a parent, especially a good one actually worthy of the title, is difficult and comes with a number of unique challenges. Knowledge of how hard being a parent is influences my decision not to be one. I even have a bit of experience as I was often left to take care of my younger siblings while both of our parents worked and I saw the kids more than our parents reasonably could. So don’t think that I’m speaking from a position of ignorance when I, as a childfree person, say that parenting is not anywhere even remotely close the hardest job in the world.

In fact, parenthood isn’t even a job, really. It’s a lifestyle choice. I have personal responsibilities too, taking care of my dog, managing my home, but I hardly consider that to be a job. I don’t know what it would say about me if I did.

But never-mind that. I can think of a lot of jobs that are harder than being a mom or dad. (Any job, really.) As far as I know, there are no education or license requirements to becoming a parent, and it’s not like you have to compete with other people to earn the position, doesn’t typically require a intensive manual labor, and it’s not generally considered dangerous (apart from pregnancy itself, although curiously people tend to ignore that.)

Now, I had a hard job. I’m an Iraq war veteran of the US Army. Before I could even get my job, I had to go through a screening process and pass a thorough background check, score high on my ASVAB, pass a grueling basic training and everything that goes with it, go through extensive job training involving many tests that could get me removed from the program if I failed, and test for and obtain an FAA private pilots licence. I did all just to leave my home and everything about my life behind. While in Iraq, I flew a UAV by computer from the back of a HMMWV, some days while searching for the source of the rocket attack that we were under at the time. I’d do this task while hearing and feeling the impacts outside and hoping I don’t get hit by one, and all while wondering if any of the people listed in the rising death toll, which was relayed to me through my headset, included anyone that I knew. And ever time that death toll grew, I knew it was because I had not yet found the source of the attack. Or worse yet – I’d missed it.

And I couldn’t even go home at the end of the day. My shift? One full year.

You know what? I still don’t have the audacity to claim that I had the hardest job in the world. I can think tons of jobs that are way harder than mine was, just off the top of my head. Hell, I didn’t even have the hardest job on the FOB. I had it damned easy compared to some other people over there. But it’s sure as hell a lot harder of a job than making sure little Johnny eats his vegetables and studies for his spelling test (I’m aware that I’m over-simplifying, but I defy anyone to tell me that any typical aspect of motherhood compares to what I’ve just described. Yeah, it’s mostly a succession of mundane tasks.)

I consider my folks decent parents. Sure, they were flawed, but who isn’t? We’d go shopping together, deal with problems together, go on outings together. But most of the time when my parents were home, they were relaxing in their own spaces. You know why? Because their jobs, their real jobs, were difficult. Coming home and playing mommy and daddy was nothing by comparison. And they weren’t even soldiers.

It’s OK to be proud of being a parent, and to talk about the challenges that come with it. But please, don’t insult the rest of by pretending that it’s the hardest job in the world. It’s just not. Perspective, people.

Posted on 2011/11/22, in childfree and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. With the advent of all kinds of parental leave (not previously available to my generation which is now desperately racing against the “ticking clock “) – there is a trend now for entry level staff to hurry up and get pregnant and go on leave, and many others who quit their jobs or take extended leave soon after returning from mat leave. Hell, now the men are taking “pat” leave. Why? Because being at home with the kids is easier than coming to work. Hardest job in the world? Obviously not.

    • Julie Was Here

      Right?

      I’m still not saying that parenting is easy. I’m sure it isn’t. Whose personal life, with our without kids, is?

      But I just get so sick of hearing that it’s the hardest job in the world. People also say that it’s the most important job in the world, but how important something is depends on what criteria they judge it by. But I can judge difficulty. I’ve had a difficult job, one that I struggled to get and one that came with a lot of risk and hardship such that few people ever face. And I still don’t claim that mine was the hardest in the world.

    • Excellent point.

  2. Just another brilliant example of parental whining. No wonder recent studies suggest that childfree adults are happier and healthier.

    • Julie Was Here

      I don’t doubt that parenting is hard, especially if one endeavors to actually be a good parent. I can even understand the compulsion to exaggerate.

      I just don’t like the sanctimonious attitude that comes with actually believing that motherhood truly is the hardest job in the world. It’s obnoxious as all hell.

  3. This post is great for a non- parent who is judgmental, ignorant and enjoys hearing their own opinions. Thank you for making the perfect post for me to use with teens in my classes about misuses of the Internet and the power of the unedited stupidity of people!!!

    • Julie Was Here

      Ignorant, judgmental, and loves hearing their own opinions… You mean like YOU? I’m not wrong anywhere, at least not as you’ve been able to show, any you’ve only commented to whine.

      Yes, go show your students how you like to throw baseless insults when you have nothing of value to say. Your bad example will certainly give them a lesson about misuses of the Internet and the power of the unedited stupidity of people!

      Your comment is nothing more than one big ad hominem with absolutely no substance. Now go ask students in a debate class to explain what an ad hominmen, the logical fallacy that you committed, is.

      Hey, here’s a thought, if I’m so wrong, it shouldn’t be hard to demonstrate exactly WHY, should it? Yet you didn’t. How telling. You know I’m right, you just don’t like it.

      Admit this, or else go back and read what I wrote about my job as a soldier in Iraq and tell me how much harder and more dangerous changing diapers is. Go on, I dare you.

  4. I will say, I’ve never said that being a mother is the hardest job ever or anything like that. It sounds stupid. I’d much rather stay home with my kids than go work in a coal mine or something. But it is very difficult, and employs a lot more than you would think. It’s really not some tired cliche when people tell you that there’s more to it than you think. I work in retail, and I’ve had to work in sub zero temperatures, lift heavy boxes, deal with very annoying people and all of that, and it’s still not as hard as being a parent, because being a parent encompasses a lot more than that.It’s very physically, emotionally and mentally draining. The constant contact, neediness and some loss of identity can really take a toll on you. Please don’t think me condescending when I’m not trying to be, but you really don’t understand unless you’ve done something similar. I get to leave my job at work when I go. I never quit being a mom. Parenthood isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle, as you said, but one that revolves around highly complex beings as well. You have to be constantly present, constantly aware, constantly teaching and you do it all on very little sleep and very little quiet time.

    As far as not very physically demanding, let’s just say that those small people under the age of two don’t know that it’s not nice to hit, kick, scream and throw a tantrum, and in order to be a good parent, it often takes your removing them from a situation to get that done while doing all of the above. If someone told you to strap a squirming screaming 20 pound package to you and try going to the grocery store, I think it would prove harder than yo’d think. :P It requires you to do seemingly simple tasks much slower and in conditions and positions that are not ideal. Not to mention all the tickle fights and hugs and kisses attacks; they may be fun, but so is football and you wouldn’t say THAT isn’t physically demanding.

    All in all, parenting is hard, especially if you’re trying to be good at it. You put a lot of your “self” into it, but get very little back immediately to show for it. It’s not as physically taxing as mining for coal, it’s not as mentally tasking as launching a rocket, but on a scale between siting on your ass and playing xbox and hiking up everest without a coat, I’d make it midrange just for all the areas of your life it encompasses.I, however, find it extremely rewarding and worth the sacrifices I’ve made to do it so I never complain about it. I love my kids, I’m not going to use them as an excuse for a handout, they are my testament about how legitimate parenting is. I don’t need a medal or a chest to pin it on, knowing that I made two upstanding good people will do just fine.The ones bitching about how hard it is and how they need ego strokes picked the wrong “profession” for lack of a better term. Full time parenthood is a legitimate choice, but certainly not the most difficult obligation you can take on.

    • Julie Was Here

      Actually, I DO understand perfectly what goes in to being a parent. (I had two of them, you know. And I was the babysitter while my parents worked.) That’s how I know it’s not something I want to do. I even said in my post that I’m sure it comes with challenges. I just get so bored of that tired cliche that non-parents “don’t understand.” It comes off as a weak excuse, frankly.

      Funny thing about the work of parenting though, it’s not consistent. You can hire babysitters, and at a certain point the kids are old enough they pretty-much handle themselves with comparatively little effort needed from you. Yeah, so the need for constant contact isn’t necessarily true, is it? You know what my parents did when they got home, mostly? They watched TV and slept. Not because they were lazy, but because there really wan’t much else they were needed to do after I was about 7 besides drive me places, buy me things, and make sure I did my homework.

      I never said that parenting couldn’t be physically taxing. What I wrote was that it doesn’t require “intensive manual labor.” I’m sure kids kick and need to be carried, but it’s not the same as lugging around equipment all day that weighs nearly as much as you do, it’s not the same as having a grueling fitness regimen, it’s not the same as having standardized fitness tests that you could lose/ be denied entree into your job if you fail at, and it’s not the same as literally fighting people your size or larger. These were all things that I faced in my job. This is what I meant. No one will be denied parenthood for not being able to do enough push-ups or sit-ups or run two miles fast enough. No one will be denied parenthood for not being able to wear heavy body armor and carry a full combat load. Parenthood need not require lugging heavy equipment. etc.

      I would happily take that 20lb squirming kid to the grocery store than ruck march miles on end carrying half my weight up and down hills and over lose terrain in all weather while maintaining my rifle position and being shouted at by drill sergeants and looking out for ambushes. Try doing that while exhausted from all the physical work that came before, lack of sleep (if you think sleep interrupted by crying was bad, try sleep interrupted by guard shifts, attacks, and random riot gas grenades.) No, I’m sorry, I’m not impressed.

      You want to talk about showers? How about not being able to shower for days because there’s a severe water shortage? How about the fact that the water literally burns you because it’s stored in a tank exposed to the sun in Iraq all day? How about taking what are called “combat showers” when you suds up, turn on the water just long enough to rinse, and then have to stop because of the aforementioned water shortage? How about having to shower in front of a room full of strangers because the showers are bays? How about finding yourself filthy again the moment you step out of the shower because there is just so much dust in the air that you literally choke on it? How about having your brief showers interrupted by explosions because the people who don’t respect your privacy aren’t needy children, but crazy people who WANT TO KILL YOU?

      I never said that parenthood didn’t come with challenges, or wasn’t legitimate. What I mean is that people who say it’s the hardest job in the world, and especially people who actually believe that’s true, lack perspective and come off as incredibly ignorant and egotistical.

      • Generally the people who say that it’s the hardest job in the world are the ones who are stay at home parents to small children, hence why I brought up constant contact. I’ve been both working and stay at home, but I was speaking from the stay at home perspective. Every parent is different in what they can handle, of course. The type that goes on and on about how hard it is are the kinds that aren’t secure that their role as a parent is fulfilling and valid and have little outside support. It can be very hard, and it does seem like the world is after you if you don’t have support. and hiring a baby sitter isn’t exactly “you” parenting “your” kids.

        As a soldier, you were physically and mentally conditioned (the best way the army can) for combat. To be honest, if we’re going to go toe to toe on each issue, if you put the average housewife literally in your boots, they couldn’t do it. She’d get squashed. If someone were to bestow parenthood to a toddler on you right now, you could probably roll with the physical punches a little better than the average housewife. Heck, the average housewife has probably never worked out a day in her life, so maybe that’s why wrestling with active kids seems like such an insurmountable challenge. :P So in that, I could agree that it’s a lack of perspective.

        And while you can be denied your job if the going gets too tough for you, if the going gets tough when you’re not prepared to face it as a parent, there is no poor performance chapter to get you out of it. It’s a mental thing, you only get one shot at doing the parent thing right, or you’ve ruined an innocent person’s life. It plays mental mind tricks on you, which is also what makes it hard.

        And, sorry but you’d probably tell me that just because everyone in my life has given me a graphic depiction of life in Afghanistan or Iraq, that just because I lived through a deployment through half my marriage doesn’t mean I know anything about what war is like. You’d be right, I know exactly how heart wrenching it is to be an army wife, but I know very little about what it’s like to be a soldier (yet.) Just because you have parents and baby sit doesn’t mean you completely understand the gravity of the role. There’s a lot more to it than that, and you don’t have that perspective unless you have constantly met the needs of a child for longer than a couple hours a day. It’s a lot like marriage, the forever aspect completely changes your way of thinking about it, for the better or for worse. That’s why people who thought they didn’t want children but for some reason or the other ended up one say stupid things like “You’ll change your mind” or “it’s different when it’s yours” or “You’ll be great at it!” It’s probably true, and definitely true for them. But that doesn’t mean you ever have to go there, or that it’s wrong to not want to go there. I think that having a kid will either make you love kids more, or make you hate them more, unfortunately, and you never know what type you are til it happens.You know enough about it to know it’s not for you, but you don’t know what I go through to bring up little future taxpayers. ;)

        P.S. I’m not trying to argue with you or put you down. I have a lot of respect for your perspective, since we’re about the same age and I agree about how frustrating it is to hear that it’s the hardest job in the world. It’s not, I happen to think that honor goes to underwater welding.

        • Julie Was Here

          Just so there’s no confusion (text can be ambiguous,) I’m not replying to argue and fight. This is just a conversation. (You’d be surprised how often people think that they must take adversarial roles, or that they’re being attacked, when another person writes more than simply “I agree.”)

          I’d argue that being a stay-at-home parent is easier. They aren’t balancing childcare with work, like many people do. But yeah, I don’t argue that a great deal of contact is needed early on, but it gradually tapers off as the kids grow and learn to do things for themselves and don’t need their hand held so much. That’s not to say that there isn’t still work for the parents to do, but the demands change.

          As for rolling with the punches with a toddler, it actually would probably not go well. I have very little patience for being hit and almost definitely be at least tempted to hit back. I can do that with adults. With kids? I’d probably get them taken away if I so much as spanked or yelled. (What happened to discipline?) I could certainly deal with a bratty toddler in a way that satisfies me, but other people would probably not approve my methods these days.

          Hardest job in the world, underwater welding? Hm… no, I’m going to have to go with Alaskan crab fishing. Ever see Deadliest Catch? That. SUCKS!

          • I knew the real answer would have something to do with water and ships. :-\

            • Julie Was Here

              Heavy Anti-Armor Weapons Infantryman is probably the most dangerous job there is, when you actually do that job. It’s all about blowing up the tank before it blows you up.

  5. I was excited to have stumbled upon your site. But then I read this post and its comments. Trust me, not showering has nothing to do with what makes being a (stay-at-home) mom the hardest job. I once went for five weeks without a shower while working as an outdoor educator spending each day and night with other people’s kids. There is no comparing that to raising kids of my own. I have also had jobs doing trailwork and being a mountain bike ranger–both in the Rockies, both physically demanding. I have had jobs that were emotionally and mentally taxing like working for Big Brothers Big Sisters where we suspected kids involved in the program were being abused–one sexually by his own father. I had A LOT of jobs before having kids, and all of them combined are nowhere near as demanding as raising two small children and maintaining a household. It is a relentless “lifestyle”–the work is unending. Maybe that’s what makes it so hard.

    Yes, it was my choice to have them. No, I don’t expect any help, sympathy, etc. Nor do I think everyone should have kids. But you don’t know what you don’t know, so I think it’s best to keep your mouth shut unless or until you have your OWN kids.

    You know what, I said some dumb things, too, when I didn’t have kids. So don’t take my comments as defensive because I don’t feel that way at all. Other than the parenting issue, I’m with you…outdoors, green living, atheism, etc…

    I’ll end my rambling with my favorite toast from my pre-baby, no way in hell do I want kids years: Here’s to the stork that brings good babies, the raven that brings bad babies, and the swallow…that brings no babies.

    • Julie Was Here

      Please, parenting is not unique or mysterious. That parenting is not, despite natalism-worshipping clap-traps, hardest anything in the world, let alone a job of any kind, is simply a fact.

      And since you ‘don’t know what you don’t know,’ don’t say that it is until you’ve served in the army in wartime, like I have. And I don’t even have the gall to pretend that was the hardest job either.

      • Thanks for your reply. I would never pretend to know what’s it’s like to be in the military during wartime. I imagine it to be incredibly hard, albeit a very different hard than parenting. My main point, which I may have neglected to make, is that what may not be the hardest job in the world for one person may be the hardest job in the world for another. Of course, I won’t get to try all the jobs out there, but of the ones I have tried, the job/work/lifestlye, whatever you want to call it, I currently have is by far the hardest. It is indescribably hard, and I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. I’m pretty sure I’ve never told anyone I have the hardest job in the world. I think I’ve always said that having kids is much harder than all the jobs I’ve had combined. That’s it. That’s my reality.

        Also, when I said “you” don’t know what you don’t know, I meant that as a general you. I just re-read it, and it sounds far more harsh than I meant it. Anyway…

        • Julie Was Here

          Nothing anyone can do from the comfort of their own home and while watching Oprah qualifies as “hard” in any way. Unpleasant, unrewarding, irritating, inconvenient, and costly, maybe. But not hard.

          Last I checked, humans only live on one planet. Something is either the hardest job in the world, or it isn’t. If parenting is the hardest thing an individual has ever done, then congratulations to them for having such an easy, privileged life in comparison to those who actually do have hard jobs.

            • Julie Was Here

              Obviously, this is a blog on which you’ll find opinions. I don’t expect visitors to agree 100% of the time, especially since some people have trouble distinguishing between what they wish to believe is true, and that which actually is. Obviously, I think that the claim that being a parent is a job at all, let alone the hardest or most important, is little more than natalist self-congratulation, having little factual merit. I think we, as a society, exaggerate greatly about the role of parent, as society worships fertility – even in the face of the overpopulation crisis. It serves no one to do so.

              I wasn’t attacking parenting. I merely contend that our platitudes about it are wrong, not to mention insulting to everyone else.

              • I have no strong convictions about calling parenting a job or not, although I think I now understand where you’re coming from. What I don’t understand, though, is negating someone else’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences.

                You have in fact challenged my thinking when you say “we, as a society, exaggerate greatly about the role of parent.” As a parent, I have many times found the opposite to be true. Parenting is looked down upon, or unnecessary/inaccurate assumptions are made about parents and parenting by some of those without children. (And occasionally by some of those with children.) I think the role of parent should be celebrated, not necessarily more than the other roles people who are parents play or the roles played by non-parents, but celebrated nonetheless. Somebody has to raise the individuals who will perform surgery to remove your brain tumor, or will collect your garbage every week, or will be the feminists of the future, or will sustain the species.

                I’ve found that the overpopulation issue is not always a black and white one when it comes to people and procreation. I used to tell people I didn’t believe in owning a purebred dog because there were so many mutts in shelters needing homes and that I believed the same about having kids. Why make your own when there are others already in existence who need good families? But in time I learned, as I said, human nature isn’t always that simple, and sometimes you end up with your own little genetic experiments.

              • Julie Was Here

                A few examples of privilege granted to parents. Those who breed are paid maternity/paternity leave, public assistance benefits, child tax credits, flexible work schedules, mothers/fathers day, special parking, and are pandered to on every single political matter. How much worship do parents need?

                Meanwhile, the childfree are poked and prodded from every direction pressuring them to breed and forming unkind stereotypes of those who don’t.

                If a child grows up to be someone useful, that’s to their own credit, not their patents’. You can not ride on your hypothetical child’s coat tails. To be useful, you have to be useful yourself. Too few people realize this, and we end up with generation of people who do little else in their lives but breed.

                As for the continuation of the human race, those who really care recognize the crisis of overpopulation as a reality, and realize too that “human nature” is no excuse to ignore that.

              • No doubt we have very different views of the world. I don’t see those things as being privileges or ways of worshipping parents anymore than I see handicapped parking or veterans’ benefits being ways of worshipping those with handicaps or who’ve served in the military. Instead, they are ways of looking out for our fellow citizens. I can understand not supporting them, just as I understand not supporting universal healthcare, but I do disagree.

                I can only assume you had some pretty shoddy parenting to overcome. To say children are not the products of how they are raised (good or bad) is naive. Does each individual have the final say in who he or she becomes or the choices he or she makes, though? Absolutely. As far as riding your children’s coattails goes, yes, I would say that’s true of the parents on Toddlers and Tiaras, but other than that…

                Overpopulation is no reason to ignore human nature either. It’s just not that simple. Deviation from human nature and what’s “natural” have in many ways, including some that may sound callous (like having clean water and access to medical care) and some less callous (like living in social groups), degraded our planet’s ecological wellbeing as well as aspects of our social condition.

                I don’t care if other people choose to have kids or not. It really sucks that the choice not to have them would ever be disrespected.

              • Julie Was Here

                Handicap parking is a necessity as being handicapped is (duh) being handicapped and is not something one chooses, and the parking exist to enable access. Veterans benefits are payment because soldiers risk their lives and health and dedicate themselves to the needs if the nation – we’re rewarded for providing a service that few volunteer for.

                Squirting out a kid, as any animal can do, is like neither of those. And yes, what I mentioned are examples of undeserved privilege. Not only is breeding a choice, non-debilitating, and not some kind of work to be paid for, it’s actually actively harmful to the world at large.

                To shrug and say “human nature,” in the face of overpopulation and the suffering it brings is nothing but an irresponsible refusal to honestly look at how selfish and wrong human beings can behave (that’s something to address and FIX! not ignore.) People are intelligent beings with the ability to analyze data and reason. “human nature” does not fly as an excuse for anything at all when dealing with a creature capable of high-level thought processes. There is no excuse to ignore overpopulation or the treat it poses to everyone, including that new person forced into existence on someone else’s narcissistic whim.

                Oh, as for assuming out of no where that I had shoddy parenting, fuck off. I had actual parents (a rarity, these days), who did actual work. Hell, getting off work and coming home to their kids was damned relaxing as compared to their real jobs. And not once have they tried to take credit, in any way, for a single thing that my brother and I have accomplished. A child is influenced by how they’re raised, I never said otherwise (arguably, a good teacher has a greater role in this than a parent, but i digress.) That does not mean that the patent gets to take credit for a single thing that child grows up to accomplish.

                Go have your own accomplishments. Have a life outside your kids. Challenge your kids to achieve even greater things. Don’t just breed and hope that somewhere down the line, some descendant validates your actions by doing something worthwhile, and then try to claim credit for influence.

              • Just this then I’ll leave you the final word:

                Don’t act like you don’t have kids out of selflessness and respect for the planet. You don’t have kids because you don’t want them. I have kids because I do. Both are self-serving choices, and both have collateral benefits to the planet and/or species.

                Back to the original topic. You cannot know what it’s like or how difficult it is to have kids unless you have them. To decide it’s not hard, with no basis to make that assessment, is ridiculous. It’s like me deciding being in a war isn’t hard and you must just be sitting around in the desert working on your tan and collecting taxpayer dollars, right? And then you should be rewarded?! Well maybe–I guess the killing does help the overpopulation problem.

              • Julie Was Here

                Actually, there are plenty of people who might otherwise have kids but choose not to because they acknowledge the harm that doing so causes. Were I to want children, I would adopt because doing so is morally superior in that I help someone who already exists while not contributing to the crisis like some selfish, narcissistic, uncaring breeding machine who not only DOESN’T benefit the planet, but actively harms it with each new baby they cram into it.

                Yes, I CAN know perfectly well what it’s like to have kids, and that’s part of the reason (besides moral concerns) that I opt out. You’re not some mysterious, secret order, you know. Did it not occur to you that I was a child and was raised by my parents, and saw what they did and what their real demands placed on them were? Do you not think that I was in a position to observe how they attended to the needs of my younger siblings, or that I also had to take on a care-taking role for them for extended periods of time? It was, at worst, irritating and inconvenient. Most of the time, we were all able to relax and each go about our own business without much worry beyond making sure everyone eats.

                And what do you know about military service? Evidently nothing if you think it’s about killing people. I never killed anyone, nor do I know anyone who did even in combat MOSs. My job was to keep people alive. Don’t let your irritation at me for not worshipping your lifestyle, as the rest of society does with more than just these mindless platitudes, cause you to slander the military.

                I wrote in my post that I don’t deny that parenting comes with challenges. Hell, gardening comes with challenges. The point was that it’s beyond absurd to place parenting on some undeserved pedestal and seriously pretend that it’s even remotely close to the hardest anything. It isn’t.

      • I cant even begin to describe how idiotic you sound. I hope you have kids. You will choke when you come back and read this, then probably fall on your knees in abject apology;)

  6. Julie, first and foremost let me say I love your blog.

    Ashley, you’re pretty much everything that is wrong with people today. In one post you’ve managed to degrade the seriousness of overpopulation and slander the men/women that risk their lives to keep you safe while you sit on your ass at home wiping up poop. I’m fearful that you’re even a parent. This earth is doomed.

    • Julie Was Here

      I think the thing is that in this society, people take it for granted that parents aught to get their way all the time. They say privilege is invisible to those who have it, which would explain why parents in general can be granted such special difference, yet still bewail that they’re not celebrated enough. We, as a society, give parents such airs, exalting the lifestyle and perpetuating the fairy-tale that it’s perfect and rewarding at all times.

      Parents at once embrace the role of hero and martyr, and assume it to be a given that they deserve special treatment, and should be except from anything that so much as resembles criticism. I upset that paradigm. I therefore must be the result of “shoddy parenting,” for not being silent in my place. I should bow, after all.

  7. I Face Reality

    Watching someone jump out of an airplane is very different than taking the jump yourself. You aren’t in a position to judge whether parenthood is the hardest job because you’ve never done it. Your tone and language denigrate something that is not a job but a lifelong commitment and journey with other people whose very lives and wellbeing depends on the work you do each day—for 18 years at the least. Your shift didn’t end for a year? A parent’s shift never ends–ever. Being in the military for a year’s deployment is just not even in the same category as parenting.

    • Julie Was Here

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You’re joking, right? I mean, you HAVE to be.

      A parent’s “shift” involves no actual work. It is not hard to keep offspring alive. They don’t even require your constant presence, and certainly not for their entire fucking lives. Who do you think you’re kidding? Do you think that I lived alone in a cave my whole life, and have never met parents or had any of my own and therefore have no idea what they are and what they do, such that you can seriously think you can not only pretest that parenthood is actual work, but is life-long work?

      Hey, jump off this airplane: go serve in a war-zone for a fucking year of ACTUAL CONTINUOUS WORK and then tell me it’s harder than, what, what, watching Oprah re-runs while little Billy plays video-games in his room, not needing you for a damned thing most of the time. You’re right about one thing, parenthood is not in the same category as military service, or any actual work for that matter.

    • noneanddone

      Oh come on, you KNOW you’re full of shit, right? I know you can’t feel for or empathize with anyone but yourself, your kids, and people who remind you of yourself, so let me put it to you this way:

      Imagine your kid is all grown up and one day comes to you and says “Mom, I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby in nine months!” How do you feel? I’m sure you’re proud/happy/bathed in the glow of your perfect Kodak moment. Any worries you may feel are minor and fleeting compared to your happiness.

      But imagine now that, instead, they come to you and say “Mom, I’ve enlisted. We ship out to Afghanistan in nine months.” You might be proud, but I suspect you’d also be a lot more scared. I suspect you wouldn’t just be able to push those fears aside easily to focus on the positive.

      Imagine that it’s not some childfree stranger but your precious baby who is going to be in constant danger of being killed. That it’s your son or daughter who may be shot through the head or so horribly maimed by an IED that they can never live a normal life again. Look down at your kid and imagine what it would be like for them to be on alert 24/7 with no break, because at any moment they might be fighting for their very lives. Tell me you think that that would be easier on them than being “on alert” with a new born.

      Imagine that it’s YOUR babies on the front lines, risking life and limb for a job that doesn’t pay nearly enough and a country that increasingly doesn’t appreciate them, and tell me honestly that you think any knocked up teen or welfare ho is doing a harder, more dangerous job.

    • As the son of a World War Two veteran, I am highly offended. My father was trained as a sniper to shoot the Japanese in New Guinea. He was good at his job. Later, he guarded Nazi war criminals awaiting trial. He left that war with a bad case of the shakes and alcoholism because of the carnage he saw, and possibly committed. He was a kind man,but his country asked him to step outside himself for the benefit of the whole planet. Parenting is nothing like that. If he were alive, I would ask him which was harder, being a soldier or raising me. I know he would say being a soldier. For one thing, I never shot back at him.

    • When does parenting involve jumping out of an airplane? It sounds like YOU are the one who is “watching” – mostly Farmville crops growing.

      Hey, “I Face Reality,” face this reality, if you dare. Did YOU raise 10 kids while working as a sharecropper? http://youtu.be/yJTVF_dya7E (“Harvest of Shame,” CBS, 1960.)

      You have it soft. No whining!

    • ViviWannabe

      OMFG, you’re kidding, right? My husband was a combat soldier, he was deployed to Yusufiyah (in an area aptly nicknamed the “triangle of death”) for almost a year before he injured his knee and had to finish his tour in Taji. He had such bad PTSD when he got home he would scream in his sleep, in Arabic. He couldn’t drive because he kept trying to dodge the patchwork in the road for fear of IEDs. AFTER HE GOT HOME. He hid in the car and cried on the 4th of July because the fireworks reminded him of mortars and he was having flashbacks. He was unable to work and because he was a reservist, it fell to me to support the family. He is now a SAHD and does a damn fine job of it, but there’s no way in HELL he would EVER say that it’s harder than what he did in Iraq, because it isn’t. In fact, he went back to college because he was so bored staying home with the kids.

    • Julie Was Here

      So, “I Face Reality,” are you going to live up to your name? Are you going to come back and respond? Will you admit wrong and apologize? That’s what a mature adult would do. Don’t you want to set a good example for your kids?

  8. Julie, It’s funny isn’t it? The people who can’t understand why anyone would not want children and think you are CRAZY for not having them. are the same people who turn around and say ” being a parent is a shittier and harder experience than being in a WAR!” And honestly, they are kind of right.lol. You did at least get paid for your work, unlike parents, whose only form of compensation comes in the form of Popsicle stick art and macaroni necklaces. You have the reward of knowing that you are doing something good and helpful, and all they have is the knowledge that they are further burdening their relationships and the planet. So I wouldn’t say that parenting is the hardest job, just the least rewarding ;)

    • Julie Was Here

      You get paid for working for other people, not for dealing with your own messes. Of course parents don’t get paid for simply giving their kids what they owe for having forced them into existence. Which is why it’s really funny when people say that they deserve a salary for being a mom. LOLWUT I guess the kids themselves aren’t reward enough.

  9. Thank you for this post. A friend and co-worker just said this very thing about parenting being the hardest job, and I am insulted by it. I am happily childfree, and I hate this insinuation. I googled “I am insulted when people say parenting in the hardest job in the world” and your post was what I came up with. Thank you!!!

  1. Pingback: Letters To A Natalist World #2 « The Hiking Humanist

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