What's the Hardest Part of Parenting?

Slate recently published a piece that asked this question, and the answers  varied quite a bit, as I would expect them to. 

I have been a parent for a long time.

I have a five year old daughter and a nearly two year-old son.


Years ago, when I was married to the wrong woman, I raised a step-daughter from the ages of 6 until 16.

As a friend recently noted, “You have all the ages of a kid covered now.”

Though parenting can be challenging at times, I have never found it to be especially hard. I think this has a great deal to do with my experience as a teacher and the life experiences that I bring to parenting.

After 15 years of managing classes of students as large as 28 students, I’ve developed a multitude of strategies that are extremely useful as a parent, as well as a level of patience unmatched by almost everyone I know.

This, combined with an often impossibly difficult life, makes almost nothing about parenting seem all that bad. After robberies and homelessness and near-death experiences and extreme poverty and unwarranted arrests and trials and public persecutions, there is little that my children can do that will phase me.  

Perhaps there will come a time when this changes. Based upon the constant and desperate assurances of naysayers whose very existence seems to depend on their ability to project impending doom on otherwise happy parents, it is very likely to change.

I’m not so sure. These seem like the same kinds of people who loved to tell me that publishing a book without already knowing someone in the publishing industry would be impossible.

Either way, Slate asked what is the hardest part of parenting. Though I may not find parenting overly difficult, there are certainly parts that are certainly harder than others. So I made a list.

The hardest parts of parenting, in my estimation.

I plan to revise this list from time to time as things change.

I’d love to read your list, too.

The Hardest Parts of Parenting 

  • The poor design and overall aggravation associated with car seats
  • The stickiness of children’s television show theme songs
  • The unspoken, constant fear of sudden infant death syndrome
  • The unpredictability of infant and toddler wake-up times
  • The inability of small children to dress and bathe themselves
  • The cost of preschool
  • The time required to exit the house
  • The terror associated with a seriously injured or ill child
  • The cost of babysitting
  • The inability of other parents to discipline their children