It seems that the people down at CareerCast.com have looked at 200 professions and decided on America’s Most Stressful Jobs for 2010. I read the list twice, and didn’t find “parent” on there. Weird.
Sorry, public relations officer (Really. Number 8.) but I think I can trump you. I mean, you DO get to pee whenever you want, don’t you? Alone? That’s what I thought.
My paid job has stressful times–I’ve been called an idiot for what I’ve written, been thrown out of a plane (okay, I jumped), I’ve written obituaries for people who aren’t dead–but since having a kid, work mostly seems like a vacation. If I were a stay-at-home mom I’d be rocking in the fetal position in the corner of the kitchen most days. I can’t handle the stress, the pressure, the constant “Mommy? Mommy? MOMMY? SUMMER!” Parenting is a freaking hard job.
Now, most of the jobs on this list are totally worthy of being there. Highway patrol officer ranks No. 7. I get that, it’s dangerous. The report says “They face many hazards, such as high-speed chases. . . .” I’m just arguing that parents face many of the same stressful situations. Last week I saw a dad bolt like lightning after his escaped 2 year old, catching him 18 inches from a downward-bound escalator. Now that is a high-speed chase. And he couldn’t even arrest the culprit!
Commercial pilot also tops the list. Those cockpits do have a lot of buttons. Not to mention your office is called a cockpit. Clearly there is something bad about that job the rest of us aren’t privy to.
Number 3 is taxi driver. Parents are taxi drivers. And nurses, and maids . . .
Number 1? Firefighter. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love firemen (particularly the ones I met during my bachelorette party, but that’s a story for another day), but here again the humor of the ranking is in the details. The report says “Firefighters frequently work irregular or unusual hours, or remain on call throughout the night.” Yesssss, very stressful, isn’t it? Especially when it’s EVERY NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE.
So clearly the true winner of the most stressful job contest should be Firefighter Moms. But just for kicks, let’s evaluate parenting on a few of CareerCast’s 21 criteria.
Hours per day: Uh, 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days per year for at least 18 years.
Physical and emotional environment: Well, let’s see, most of my time is spent on the floor. There’s quite a bit of crying. Sometimes the girl “clients” very dramatically hate boys at preschool. Will there be a separate question for lactation?
Income: I just laughed so hard I snorted.
Opportunity for advancement: Is this counted in number of kids? Or quality of Mother’s Day gifts? Let’s just say the opportunity is low.
Stress (ie, confinement, tools used, lifting required, stamina required): Yes on all counts. Don’t forget completing homework; wondering if kids are getting good nutrition, sleep, education; administering eye drops; rectal thermometers; dating; driving; college admissions. Whew, let’s all take a panic attack break.
Perceived Risk of Unemployment: You’ve got us there, CareerCast. Pretty sure nobody wants to take over for us. Though if we do our job well we do eventually work ourselves out of a career.
Okay, add them up, divide by 7, carry the 1 . . . Oh look! We win! The most stressful job in the world, according to Mom-Colored Glasses, is parenting. I feel better now.