Once, on an imperial tour in some distant province, a woman darted out from the crowd and blocked the path of the Emperor Hadrian, asking for help with some now-forgotten issue. Hadrian tried to put her off. “I haven’t got the time,” he said, attempting to move past her. “Well stop being emperor then!” the woman shouted after him. Hadrian paused, turned back and helped her.
Each of us can relate to this professionally, but also as parents. The amount of requests and demands upon us seems endless. Can you make me something to eat? Can you take me to my friends’ house? Can you help me with my school work? And this is after another day at work where, once again, we did other people’s work, where, once again, the hard decisions fell on us, where, once again, we responded to emails and phone calls and inquiries.
But guess what? It’s the job! We took it. We decided to have kids. We signed up for this.
We don’t get to say we don’t have the time. We don’t get to say, “Sorry, the pool is too cold,” or “Sorry, I’m tired and I just got home.” No, we must, as we talked about a while back, put our stuff down and go play. We’ve got to get back in the car. We have to answer the same question for the one millionth time. We’ve got to watch the TV show for the one millionth time, do the dishes for the one millionth time.
One cannot simply stop being Emperor. You don’t get to stop being a parent. It’s the job…it’s the job for life. 24/7/365. Will that be exhausting? Sure. But it will also be wonderful…after all, that’s why so many people would kill to have either job.