Since joining the blogging world I’ve discovered a new phrase, so to speak, which I’ve found most used in the parenting bloggers community. It’s a phrase I find quite unsettling for a number of reasons, but rather than rant, rave or ‘roast’ (which I purposefully titled to get your attention). I’d like to explain why I feel unsettled by the phrase and why it is something we as parents or bloggers should STOP using.
I’m sure my opinion will divide many, so I’m wearing my armour ready for the back lash.
But please hear me out…
The phrase which I’m referring to is ‘FT’ [Full Time] Parent. There’s a number of reasons why I dislike the phrase, which all revert back to…“Just what is an FT parent?” and “Why are we now using employment language to describe our time as parents?”
Here’s were my issues start…
Firstly, what I find so strange about describing yourself as an FT parent is how it describes me. I am a working parent. So in light of the phrase FT parent, does that make me a PT [Part Time] parent? Or indeed my partner, would he be viewed as an evenings and weekends parent? He’d be truly heartbroken like any dad would be, if his role was categorised so callously, and good luck to the person who dared call me a part time parent! Personally, I don’t consider my partner or myself being a lesser parent than a parent who doesn’t work, yet using phrases like FT parent implies this.
It simply doesn’t make sense. In my opinion, whatever time is given to the role of being a parent, whether you are a working parent or stay at home parent, you are still a parent. Both roles still come with the same tireless hard work, and the most love and laughter. Parenting should be respected however we do it.
My second issue with using FT parent centres around what FT actually means. For me, FT means when an employer asks you to work a minimum number of hours which usually equates to anything above 37 hours per week. Parenting on the other hand is not FT work. Its a 24/7 role, that has no clock off, no holidays, no time owed, no breaks, and the pay is pants or in my world (dirty nappies)! Not to mention our kids are not our employers, though agreed, some days they can work you hard! Parenting is not FT it’s ATT [All The Time].
Speaking of ATT, how does FT describe the role of a ‘stay at home parent’ because in my book it doesn’t. I take my hat off to anyone who has chosen to be a stay at home parent, because the job is quite frankly… HUGE! It’s not an 8 hour day with a break type of job, like FT implies. Slave would be more fitting… only joking, but sense the tone, its tough! At least for a working parent, there is some rest bite, in the sense you can have a few hours away from the running of the house and kids, and have a great excuse why the dishes aren’t done because you’ve been at work, (that’s mine… you can borrow it).
It did cross my mind that it’s just a way of legitimising our contribution to society, because lets face it, we’re forced to compete on every level – surely being a parent has no exception. If that is the case, then why? Have we really become that judgemental that we’re now scrutinising parenting as your role in life? There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying you are unemployed, stay at home parent, because your responsibilities in life are far greater than meeting the next deadline or target. Own it, embrace it, it’s the best, most rewarding and at times hardest life choice anyone could ever make. Don’t misrepresent it with a ridiculous term like FT.
Another thought was, is it just a sign of the times and how digitalised (or lazy) we are now. Using abbreviations to describe what we do on social media, in text messages, or forums is standard practise. We all crave instant information. Is using FT parent just one of those byproducts born from the fast pace world we live in, because it’s simply quicker than writing ‘stay at home’ parent? Jeez, I’m using an emoji to describe my frustration in this blogs picture above, I’m certainly no exception to the rule of instant information and text-talk.
But do we truly understand how offensive the phrase FT parent is?
I feel it’s wrong to be calling a parent by the hour. We’re allowing ourselves to be valued by an hourly rate. People are judged by what they do for a living not who they are and how they live their lives. Using the phrase FT parent reinforces this madness.
Lets not forget, becoming a parent is a life choice – a wonderful one at that, that some others are unable to choose. Cherish that, and don’t dress it up with silly employment references which undermine your life choice. Value your role, because you are valued by those you have chosen to raise, love and devote your time to.
I hope I’ve explained myself… tin hat on!😜