I believe that parenting is the most exquisitely rewarding intense and demanding job I have ever done or imagined doing.
When I think about intense and demanding jobs, I think about neurosurgeons, hostage negotiators, heads of state - and no doubt the intensity of these jobs is greater by light years than anything I can imagine.
And yet, each is a job with a beginning and an end. The neurosurgeon leaves the operating room, removes her scrubs, and goes home to her family. The hostage situation ends. The President finishes his or her term and returns to civilian life. Parenting does. not. end.
In my first job out of college I was a fundraiser for a local arts institution. My boss, the Development Director, used to remind us when we'd get worked up that "this isn't cancer research," in an attempt to put things into perspective. Which it did.
I think of her reminder often in relation to the journey of parenting. The thing is I believe that in parenting the stakes are higher even than they are in cancer research. We are making humans here, growing adults, preparing the next generation of neurosurgeons, hostage negotiators, heads of state, cancer researchers - and parents.