Eleni Sarantinou bLU Talks 2019

Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge

I was born in Greece, the home of olives and grapes. I studied Economics and had a successful career in IT before stumbling across Life Coaching and NLP. Today, I’m an NLP trainer, a Life Coach, a wife, a mother, a world traveller. Nothing gives me more joy than sharing what I’ve learnt, and am still learning, with you. Read more

The most demanding job of all

Let us take a minute and give a big applause to all parents out there. The ones who actually do their best every day to take care of children, the people who invest energy and time to form the new generation. To those individuals, I bow and salute their spirit!

I am not sure if you have already heard or realized but parenthood is the toughest job of all! Without a single doubt!1

Why is that? Let us focus on some of the reasons…and compare with another profession: A pilot!

Few years of study and you know all the theory. Then you go on traineeship. You experience your first rough landings and some very bumpy take-offs. You make sure you have good support from other pilots and they teach you the job in practice. Finally you actually get your first real job in an airline and you start as a co-pilot. You watch closely every single move and decision of the main pilot. After quite some years after your graduation, traineeship and working as a co-pilot, the pilot job is yours.

Nonetheless, every destination is new, every airport, every weather forecast and every aircraft but after a while, you pretty much learn and repeat so the mistakes become less and less. Mostly, they are small mistakes; they do not cost people’s lives. You can actually say that you enjoy your job because you mastered it! You also get paid well and you will have a nice pension and a fantastic career to be proud of!

What I just described, it is probably the way to follow for any profession in this world.

Now, let us compare parenthood:

A parent is totally and utterly uneducated. No university degree, no studies, no information or exams. You just become a parent out of the blue basically.

No matter what you do, you will always remain inexperienced. It is a simple fact. You will get some experience, of course but a child is growing every day so yesterday’s experience is today’s nothing. Every day, a child is evolving emotionally, physically and mentally and a parent wakes up to a new reality. A parent will always have bumpy landings because every age is new and a child reaches new behaviors, habits and moods.

Of course books and information are available! A parent has this support to his/her disposal and it really helps! And of course a parent has his/her own parents or friends for support and mentoring!

BUT there are so many books and so many family members/friends and on the other hand our child is unique! A parent needs to figure out what applies to this unique creature and what not. It is not an airbus A 370 that always has the same engine and control panel. Our child can have such a different profile from any other child in the world because he/she is getting created in a unique factory (our home, school, neighborhood, family, etc). And as every generation is different and evolves with us, already even the most recent publication or own parents’ advice can be outdated and not always applicable.

They say: a parent’s love is enough. A parent intuitively knows what to do. Well, I am sure this is also true but nothing and nobody prepares you for parenthood and your reactions to it. We all carry our own world and we have modeled our own parents when we were little. So when we become parents, all this comes to the surface and no matter how patient or noble or giving we would like to be 24×7, we catch ourselves tired, exhausted, unsatisfied and disappointed with our handling of things.

We then think we are not good enough. A huge psychological burden and sense of failure.

In the event that a child has two parents (a mum and a dad), there are still extra challenges; no matter how intuitively we think we do the right thing, to do our job right, we need to discuss every day with the co-parent and reach the exact same conclusion how to raise the kids, how to react to the kids, reach agreement on every single thing in order to have peace and heaven in the house and in the hearts of the little ones. Only, sometimes the co-parent comes from completely different background or has different thoughts about the whole subject and before we reach agreement (if ever), there are quite some disagreements, fights and disappointments. Time then is running against us.

In the event that a child has a single parent, all the hard work is doubled. Please allow me to express my deepest respect to this category!

A parent needs the best physical and psychological condition of all professions to make it. Less sleep, constant and all sort of demands throughout the day, no fixed shift or hours of work, overwork, no performance evaluation or manager to discuss and constant complaints no matter what.

Parenthood has no financial gains, on the contrary: it has heavy financial responsibilities. At the end of the job, chances are big that you will not really hear thank you or get a pension or a retirement plan. You just do the job until your last breath and hope it is somehow appreciated. No possibility of quitting, either!

Parents are given a job demanding an extraordinary set of various skills which you might need a whole life time to acquire (not just few years like a pilot!) because of the volatile change of our client (our children).

Conclusion: Parenthood is the toughest job of all! We should all give credit to our efforts and results. No matter what parents do, when there is a genuine intention to do their best, despite little mishaps here and there, we all do a great job anyway. Even though the styles of every parent are different (and Thank GOD for that!), we are all helping our children to acquire great qualities and at the same time some less qualities. But at the end, they will serve them well! This is how human kind works.

So, please, if you are a parent, be kind to yourself, appreciate yourself, chill and smile! Please know that every day you do extremely well and improvement is part of the process!

A big bravo to every parent out there!

Change Book Cover

The Change Book Series is all about empowerment and collaboration! My chapter with title ‘Sacrifice-less’ came straight from my heart in a flash.
Read more

10% Profits go to charities

Buy1Give1 Projects
The Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital