Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Twelve Hours Off Duty


Earlier this week, I noted how hard the two hours a day are that I parent on weekdays. You should've picked up on the irony: while those two hours are packed, they're only two hours.

The flip side of the ardors of parenting for Amy and me are that our kids are great sleepers. We put them to bed at 7 and don't hear from them until 6 or 7 the next morning. My friends tell stories about how hard it is to put their kids to bed at night, or how often they wake up in the middle of the night, or how early they arise to demand attention or companionship. For two introverts like Amy and me, having twelve hours a day off duty is a luxury, and yet a necessary one.

And, I suppose I should check myself when I'm tempted to complain about our kids' extra needs. They may require additional support in behavioral and speech issues, which takes up a lot of time and effort shuttling them around, organizing insurance and logistical tasks, and worrying over their futures. But they don't get colds, have throw-up problems, or require trips to the emergency room, which are the kinds of things that tax my friends.

Ultimately, these job analogies I'm making are inappropriate. Parenting may seem like a job, but it's not. We all know instead that, even if it is labor, it is a labor of love. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear my "clients" stirring.
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