Parenting Job Description: Undefined Tasks As Needed


I work from home. A lot.

My kid is there.

And while I’m not by myself, I try to let my partner sleep, so I check my email before 9 am and hope nothing too immediate comes down the pipeline.

This morning I was trying to work on some time sheets and my kid wanted me to play in his room. I told him I needed to work, which means nothing to him. All he hears is “No.”

I felt bad. But that feeling was immediately followed up with a thought about how I’m not there to entertain him. I’m there to provide a roof over his head.

Which was immediately followed by the thought that he did not ask to be brought into this world and of course it’s my job to feed and take care of him since it was my choice to have him in the first place so why is my “work” getting in the way of his happiness?

I decided to keep working on the time sheets until it felt unmanageable and eventually gave in to playing catch with him for ten minutes in his room.

I come back to this conundrum a lot. Like, I miss sleeping in and having weekends and being by myself. I miss a lazy of Sunday, un-showered, in my pajamas all day, shuffling from the bed to the bathroom back again and occasionally the kitchen or the front door to get my food from the delivery guy. I miss zoning out completely in front of a screen or napping every other hour.

I know that these are unreasonable things to want now that I’m a parent. But that doesn’t change how much I miss them.

There are times when I’m lying on the couch in my robe and my kid is demanding something from me. To be tickled. To watch something on t.v. To go with him into his room where he bosses me around or just wants my presence.

And I want to tell him that I’d prefer to do nothing thank you very much.

But that feels wrong. Selfish. Unloving. Uncaring. Callous. Cruel.

Very UN-mommy like.

Except, I am human. And for a good fifteen or so years I lived my life on my terms. It was lonely sometimes. Depressing. Unfulfilling. Meaningless even.

I wouldn’t necessarily trade this for that. I mean, the grass is always greener.

Still, I lavished in that freedom. The flexibility of nanny-ing meant that I was broke, but I had something even more valuable than money. I had Time.

Maybe the hardest part about parenting that we don’t always acknowledge is that we’re aging right along with it. I’m not a young parent either, so while I’m about to hit a mid life crisis, my kid isn’t even in kindergarten yet.

None of this stuff is easy. Duh.

But I often wonder what my “job” is as my kid’s parent. Sometimes I think I want it to just be the bare minimum because that isn’t really bare at all. It’s called working and taking care of the house and trying to improve our situation. I resent being at his beck and call, to be his clown, his audience, his servant, his peon.

And then I feel this heavy thought of how to him, I’m a very big part of his very small world and the least I could do is make it fun and happy and exactly what he wants it to be.



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