Make no mistake, it is a job. It’s just like no other job on the planet. For a start there’s no paid overtime. Heck,
sometimes you’re lucky if you get a lunch break. You have to organise your own health plan. You are on-call ALL THE TIME. There isn’t a point where you get to knock-off, just temporary relief if they sleep, or if you have an amazing partner or supportive family (or hired help). There are no ﬁnancial bonuses for a job well done. No chances
for promotion. In fact there’s often no recognition of your amazing feats at all.
And intensive? It’s downright unrelenting. There are no holidays – just your job in different locations. And no, you don’t get sick days: you have to suck it up and work through.
HOW WOULD YOU WRITE UP THIS ROLE AS AN ADVERTISED POSITION? WHAT SORT OF SELECTION CRITERIA WOULD IT HAVE?
SC1: Proven ability to perform multiple difﬁ cult tasks simultaneously. Additionally applicant must be very ﬂexible and adaptable.
SC2: Proven ability to perform under pressure. Applicant must be able to use patient and even-tempered for years on end. Sleep deprivation experience is advantageous. Ditto torture experience.
SC3: High-level negotiation skills. Demonstrated ability to interact with ridiculously stubborn children. Will suit those used to dealing with politicians.
SC4: Superhuman time management skills. The Job oN the planEt. applicant must be able to efﬁ ciently utilise all 24 hours of the day. Sleep optional.
SC5: Development planning and implementation experience (very high level) for educational and social development project management on highly inﬂuential subjects. Must be good role model, great teacher and wise elder. The ability to accurately
predict the future will be looked upon positively.
SC6: Demonstrated artistic ability. Arts and crafts preferable. Capacity for amazing imagination essential. Proﬁciency for uttering sentences such as “why yes, that *is* a giraffe with a snooglehorn and not a rock at all” a must. Acting ability obviously also required.
Experience at any/all of the following would be advantageous: chef, psychologist, diplomat, refuse handler, nutritionist, insomniac, teacher, referee, safety ofﬁcer, sports/music/dance coach.
Is it any wonder there are no licensing law requirements to be a parent? Who could satisfy this sort of application? Hardly any of us at all.
Well, maybe an anal retentive type-A sociopathic insomniac but even then only if they had experience.
A parent has so many responsibilities it’s not surprising that sometimes some of us have doubts about whether we’re doing a good job. We have to be so many things and it feels so very important to get it right. It’s our children’s future after all so the stakes are high.
But just how realistic is it for us to be so versatile? How many jobs in the real world would dare to ask for so much across so many spectrums?
This is why ancient civilisations raised children using the entire community. Less pressure, more specialisation and more support.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and having doubts about your ability as a parent, please don’t despair. No matter what the media tells you there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I don’t think any sane person reading this will be able to fulﬁll ALL the criteria. But if you do? Well then email me – I may have a position open for you.