General humorous essay on parenting.
The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love
By Mary Pat Strenger Loomis
Yes, I stole this slogan from the Marines, or more accurately, returned it to its rightful owners—parents. Though I am not militarily inclined (I have an ingrained dislike of pain) I have worked full-time for corporate America and I have worked full-time, overtime, and half time at parenting. No contest; parenting is tougher.
Have Marines ever tried to broker a mortgage deal over the phone while two toddlers jumped rope with the cord? Have they navigated I-95 during rush hour, dodging incoming Cheerios to the shouts of “He looked out my window!” with one hand replugging a baby’s mouth? Do Marines raise their checkbooks to the sky and plead, “Think loaves and fishes?” I think not.
That’s some of the Tonka-tough stuff; let’s get to the heart part. From the moment you start to love your child, it’s an affair like no other. It’s an intense elemental force of protection and nurturing that pays exponential dividends in moments joyful, tender and proud. “Mommy, when I grow up will you dump dad and marry me?” “Mom! I got first place in the essay contest!” “I’m sorry, mom; I didn’t eat my special sandwich today. Jeffrey forgot his lunch and I gave it to him; are you mad?” “Mom, I got a huge bonus at work and I want to pay off the mortgage!” (Okay, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but I have every confidence of its appearance at a future date.)
As parents we bear the responsibility and privilege of the multileveled formation of our children. Whether they’re cracking the books, cracking eggs or cracking the bat we want our children to be successful in every area of their lives. Their losses pain us; their victories thrill us. We give them roots and we give them wings (I initially thought this was a dietary guideline;) we bond for life. I believe there is no greater calling than to be a parent. The family is the core unit of society and, good or bad, the job we do as parents has a rippling affect on the universe.
This job gets tougher with each generation. Since the nuclear family is no longer the norm, parents have naturally sought out one another for practical and moral support. We carpool, host overnights, offer advice, monitor media and swap services to provide a secure and stimulating childhood for our offspring while preventing our own narcotic dependency. Good parents rock! We are workers, we are witnesses and we are warriors for our children. We encourage honesty and honor. We foster industriousness and ingenuity. We develop ethics and character. We prevent what hardships we can and teach them to handle the rest. They grow and prosper because they feel loved and secure. No matter how badly they behave and how much they test their parents, children need to know they will always have a loving home. Parenting indeed is the toughest job you’ll ever love, because it works when you love your children unconditionally and, like a real Marine, remain forever faithful—semper fi.