I have a fair amount of child-free friends, and I have also heard people at various times compare this or that to being a parent. I’ve heard the writing of a book, or seeing a house built compared with giving birth, and heard people of various professions compare what they do to being a parent. It has become a bit of an annoyance and a pet peeve of mine because as far as I’m concerned—there is nothing out there, on earth that compares to being a parent.
I understand that there might be little snippets and pieces of things that feel like parenthood in the work of teachers and social workers and other jobs in the helping professions. I get that people might think that caretaking is caretaking and that caring for a child as a parent must be the same as caring for a patient or a classroom of students. Well, there are some things that make parenting unique—first of all, parenting is 24-hours-a day, 7-days a week for at least two decades. That doesn’t take into account the fact that we parents are usually well-attached to our children before they ever arrive and will stay connected and involved forever—a life time. We can’t go home at the end of the day or mark someone out of our appointment book. We’re there all the time, no matter what else is going on in our lives.
And I’m sorry, I’ve written a book, and while it is an amazingly difficult and creative process, it in no way compares to being pregnant and giving birth to a child that I will then have to care for and worry over for the rest of my life. I haven’t built a house from start to finish, but I’m guessing that it isn’t the same as giving birth either.
I’m not trying to be snotty or snooty or say that somehow parents “have something up” on people who aren’t parents. I don’t believe that at all and I do think that parenthood should, in the best of all possible worlds, be something we enter into by choice. But, I also think that it is a challenge and a blessing unique unto itself and there is nothing else on earth that can compare. At least, that is my two cents’ worth!