When Parenting Becomes Work

Businesswoman collecting laundry at home

By Morgan Starr from Rookie Mommy Raising Boys

I hate when parenting becomes work.

I mean, it is a job: A really, really hard one. With the bath times, bed times, chauffeuring, extra house work, potty training, disciplining, and battles with kids, parenting can be grueling, exhausting, and thankless. But what I hate is when I allow the monotony of this whole parenting job to take over; when I allow the schedules and the housework and the struggle for perfection get the best of me, and I forget to remember to enjoy this difficult but wonderful job, and I let it develop that negative connotation that comes with the word work.

I realized today that sometimes I lose sight of the good parts of parenthood and allow myself to be consumed by the difficult side of it. As I was walking through the living room, bent on completing yet another chore, I casually mentioned the nice weather we were having, and my three-year-old son piped up, “Mommy, if the weather is so nice, why don’t we go outside and play together?” I looked down at the full laundry basket in my hands. I glanced into the kitchen at the table, still laden with plates and cups from lunch, waiting to be cleaned up.

As I stood there, my mind raced while I attempted to recall the last time I had gone outside and played with my kids. It had certainly been weeks. I tried to remember the last time we had sat on the floor and played without me simultaneously trying to finish something up for my job outside the home, or trying to put away laundry in between each puzzle piece, or sneaking out of the room while the kids stacked blocks so I could scrub the bathroom sink, or running the sweeper while the boys drove their toy cars around me in circles. I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened at all.

And honestly, those are the things I enjoy the most about being a parent. I love spending time with my kids and doing fun things. I love it when I can sit and listen to their silly stories, or I can read them 10 books in a row without batting an eye, or we can build with Legos. But when does that opportunity exist, when everything is caught up and I can sit back, relax, and simply enjoy my time with the kids without glancing at the clock and thinking about the ten million things I need to do?

It doesn’t.

But for a few hours today, I didn’t let that stop us. I let go of the schedule for a while; I let go of that “work” end of this whole parenting thing, I let the housework wait, and I focused on the joy and happiness that being with my kids brings me. We enjoyed an afternoon of simple togetherness, and that was enough to bring me back down to earth and remind me how grateful I am that I get to be Mom in the first place.

I think I’ll do that more often.

Morgan_allRookie Mama Musings: This column is published weekly on Thursdays, by Morgan Starr, right here on the Mama Lovejoy blog. Morgan Starr is a mom of three young boys who is embracing the wild ride of motherhood and learning as she goes. She’s a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night, blogging at www.rookiemommyraisingboys.com. You can keep up with her kids’ antics on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information on the Rookie Mama Musings column, please visit the Rookie Mama Musings page. If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to see more from Mama Meditations or from Mama Lovejoy, you can follow Mama Lovejoy on Facebook, or @Mamalovejoy1 on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Periscope.

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