Valuing Our Role As Parents

kMaDAd1468330196Raising a child is an amazing thing to do, yet it is so easy to undervalue it at times.

As parents we know how important a role it is. We love our children so much and want the very best for them. But for many of us there can be those times when we lose touch with this fact. There are moments when the competing pressures of life get on top of us, maybe we are not achieving as much as we would like (or think we should) in the other realms of our lives because we are busy raising our children. Or we feel so stuck in the never ending tasks of family life that it feels we are not accomplishing much at all. It is these times that it is worth reminding ourselves how important being a parent is.

Before I go into this a bit deeper I think it is worth first considering some of the reasons that make it challenging at times to stay in touch with the value that we bring as parents.

Raising a child is not about one big task with a final outcome. Instead, it is made up of many small things that make it hard to see it as a whole. A day spent caring for a child can have no significant features to it despite being busy the whole time. It can be hard to know what we have actually done except been there for our children.

Our society’s ideas of value is based on a capitalist mindset. This has many advantages but one downside is that people are indirectly seen as commodities. The unspoken inference, in many parts of our society, is that what we produce or achieve gives us value. The money we earn/spend, the tasks we accomplish and the career we have are what makes us, in the eyes of society, successful. Based on this reckoning, we do not intrinsically have value for who we are and the quality of relationships that we have. Raising a child does not produce anything directly and although deep down we know that parenting is probably the most significant thing we will do in or lives, that sits at odds with the message from the society we live in. Of course, parenting a child is of a huge achievement. We have our children to show for it, but in a world where ‘success’ is everything, we can lose track of the value of parenting because of its vagueness.

There are also some aspects that are related specifically to women.

As raising children has traditionally been a female task, so has motherhood been undervalued (as have many things that women do). This is, thankfully, changing although the amount that it has altered is still up for discussion.

Also as a gender we tend to undervalue ourselves. Research has shown time and time again that women (compared to their male counter parts) have a tendency to doubt themselves more, expect more of themselves and feel that they are lacking in the necessary skills. The reasons for this are still being researched and they are bound to be a complex interaction of nature and nurture.

Acknowledging that what we do as mothers (and fathers) is of value is an important thing to do. The treadmill of running a family home with all that is involved in raising a child (soothing, cuddling, talking, kissing knees better, feeding, connecting, entertaining, explaining, redirecting) so easily hides the truth. As parents we are the most significant influence in our children’s lives.  In those moments (ones where we don’t feel we are achieving very much) it is great to reconnect with the value we bring as parents: value to our children, ourselves and society as a whole. We are raising human beings to be a part of the world and what a wonderful thing that is.

So what is next?

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44 thoughts on “Valuing Our Role As Parents

  1. Such an interesting post. Completely agree. Sometimes I find myself sitting her depreciating myself as a mother, thinking how my pressure seems to be that bit more heavy than dad’s role. It’s a strange old world. Thankfully the world is changing and hopefully one day we can all learn to love ourselves, our efforts and even our failures. Thanks for the eye opening and though provoker.


    1. Thank you for your kind words Lex. Learning to love ourselves failures and all is such a great destination to aim for. not an easy one for most of us, me included.

  2. Kirsten, raising children is probably one of the most thankless but equally rewarding tasks there is and it is easy when you are on the precipice of boredom and monotony to appreciate the value of your role as a mother. I need to remind myself of that frequently. Ultimately however we are privileged. #BloggerClubUK

    1. I so agree. It is a privilege to be on the journey with our children. For all those moments of monotony there are more that are wonderful and more still that teach us about ourselves and the world. Thank you for commenting Jo.

    1. It can slip away in the minutia or raising a family can’t it. Bringing ourselves back to the big picture is useful to do every so often. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Such a great post. I’m so guilty of always feeling like I’m busy doing daily house tasks and feel like I’m not accomplishing much. It’s so true about us being commodities – I always feel like I haven’t achieved much if I haven’t actually got any tangible output from my day. This is a great reminder about our value as parents and to not be too hard on ourselves – I’ll be sharing this on social media x #coolmumclub

    1. Thank you Mum in Brum. It is so useful, I find, to think in terms of what we are indirectly taught about ourselves and the value we bring. I am glad it resonated with you. Kirsten

  4. I literally said to my own Mum over a cuppa last night (as I collapsed into an armchair for the first time all day) ‘how can I be so tired from doing nothing all day?’…she put me right in the same way this post has!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 41My Profile

    1. I feel like that at times. ‘busy doing nothing’ is exactly what it can feel like. Yet it is not nothing. Thanks for sharing. I am glad you have a mother who puts you right!! Thanks for commenting.

    1. I agree with you. The job has to be done by someone so what is wrong with any parent, male or female, choosing to do it. No matter what our choices are valuing what we do is really important. Thanks for commenting Claire.

  5. Great post. You’re totally right about life being very outcome based. When you don’t see something tangible at the end of the day, it’s easy to feel you’ve done nothing. Or it’s easy for others to think that which over time effects your own self-perception. I’m very goal driven and struggle with this at times. Almost 2 years into motherhood and I am still training myself to remember that sitting with my daughter playing is ‘getting something done’. Thanks for sharing – some great food for thought! #CoolMumClub
    Angela Watling recently posted…Ditching the dummyMy Profile

    1. Yes, Angela. It is such a change becoming a mother when we have been very goal oriented. You are so right, sitting with your daughter playing is getting so much done in terms of building your relationship with her. Thank you for your thought provoking comment. Kirsten

  6. Yes to all of this! What’s most important is what lasts the longest, and the amazing people you raise and their effect on the world will last longer than any to-dos, home renovations, hobbies, or paid employment will!

    1. Hi Jenny, I am glad this resonated with you. I love your comment ‘the amazing people you raise and their effect on the world will last longer than any to-dos’. that is a perfect way to put it. Thank you for your insightful comment. Kirsten

  7. This was a really interesting piece. As a society we really do value achieving. On my days at home with the kids I often struggle with the concept of not “achieving” more. I have to work quite hard to remind myself that playing with the kids and helping them to have fun, as well as having half an hour to myself while they watch TV is important and a good use of time.


    1. Hi Bee, I have found it so easy to take societies messages as a truth in the past. They can be hard to question or even see because we have always been surrounded by these ideas. It is good when we do start to look at them though because it gives us greater flexibility to make up our own minds. Thanks for your comment. Kirsten

    1. I think it is because the tasks are so numerous and small that we lose sight of the bigger picture easily. Thanks for commenting Jenny.

  8. Brilliant – you make an excellent point. I think that many of us have experienced jobs and careers before babies, where our performance is constantly evaluated, bench-marked and praised. Hard work and dedication are all things that would have previously scored us recognition and an excellent appraisal or financial reward which all helps to boost the confidence. We then go into parenthood where none of our hard work is noticed, let alone recognised and I honestly think that this is why so many of us often question whether we are doing the right thing and our confidence drops as a result. Excellent post x #MarvMondays

    1. I agree with everything you have said here. We don’t deserve for our confidence to drop or the lack of importance placed on what we do. through researching for my book and the women I know, we all work really hard at raising our children. Thanks for commenting.

    1. I am really glad that you don’t undervalue it. It is a lot of responsibility and such an important role. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I had my daughter pretty young to be honest so I’m still trying to figure ‘life’ out but I’m really happy with where I am right now in my life, relationships, parenting and work. The fact that I got her to six and she seems pretty well rounded amazes me to be honest as I’m not the most nurturing of people. #MarvMondays

    1. Hi Kat, I can’t speak for everyone but I think the majority of us are still trying to figure life out. It is great to hear that you are in a good place now and have a happy daughter. Thanks for commenting.

    1. We can be at times can’t we. It is of course motivated by care but it is really great to stop and value what we do. Thanks for commenting.

  10. A really wonderful post, I know I definitely undervalue my role as parent on a regular basis and we are as parents are so tough on ourselves at times. Thanks for reminding me to acknowledge each of the small good things in parenting. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

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