During our youth, many of us tend to complain about growing up with hard-working parents. As a small child and even sometimes a teenager, we want our working parents to be around more often. But as youngsters, we may not fully comprehend exactly why our parents have to work as much as they do.
This was me growing up. I grew up with a mother and father who never had standard salary careers and, therefore, had to work full-time retail jobs. While I had an enjoyable and carefree childhood, I’ve always enjoyed my parents and wanted them around more than they already were. I vividly recall a period during my childhood when I would wake up nearly every morning—especially on the weekends—when I would jump out of my bed and waltz into my parents’ room, tap my momma awake and ask her, “Mommy, are you off work today?” because I just loved her presence that much. As a child, I couldn’t even begin to appreciate how hard they had to work for my siblings and me, as well as themselves.
Now, as an adult, I can look back and say, “Wow, growing up with such hard-working parents who sometimes had to work late nights really taught me a lot growing up.” This is how growing up with working parents structured my life in a way I didn’t even know until I got older.
I was about nine years old when I washed dishes for the very first time. I also remember making hotdogs, pancakes, Ramen noodles, and grilled cheese sandwiches, and doing my own laundry (all under supervision) before I turned 12. This is because having parents who worked mostly during the day taught us some survival skills around the house. My parents were very involved in our lives and taught us many things, but it was up to me and my siblings to apply what we had learned when they couldn’t be around. I have an older sister who was always super independent by nature, so what my mother mainly taught her, she passed it on down to us. She was like a second mother, which I am very thankful for!
“IF YOU DON’T WORK, YOU DON’T EAT”
Food is a hot commodity and it’s getting increasingly expensive, especially if you aim to eat healthy. But it’s a common principle: if we want food, then we must work for it. In other words, we must work in order to meet our bare necessities. My parents exemplified this principle my whole life. It shaped my perspective on working to meet basic needs.
“IT’S NOT ABOUT SETTLING; IT’S ABOUT LIVING”
Most of us have dream careers we want to pursue while others may be just as content working a 9 to 5 job until they retire. There’s nothing wrong with either, but in this day and age, it’s all about having a career or your own business. That has become the new standard as far as work, but standards don’t always have to be met if your lifestyle or personal wiring doesn’t agree with it. Many times, though, a career is difficult to reach, while a standard day job (grocery or department store) is more attainable. This doesn’t necessarily mean settlement, but it is the wisest option for the time being. You can always work toward your ideal career if you don’t grow complacent.
“BILLS COME FIRST, THEN YOUR WANTS”
My mother and father always worked hard to make sure the household’s needs were met: lights, rent, food, clothing, and water. Work teaches us this type of discipline and survival skills, and motivates us to appreciate our work more. Once our greatest needs are primarily met, we can focus on our wants, such as entertainment, a night out, and vacations. It’s always best to reward ourselves after working hard and meeting our needs, and delayed gratification makes us more motivated!
Lastly, working hard leads to greater rest. I was always taught to work before play and rest. Even today, I would feel guilty if I rested before anything. I truly credit my hard-working parents for my work ethic. Happy Working Parents’ Day!