must-have par-ent: noun a father or mother who takes a greater share of responsibility for the family because their partner works an extreme job that demands long hours, mega travel, deployment and/or living apart temporarily.

All parents are ‘must have’ parents. Kids ‘must have’ their parents to grow and thrive. It is a requirement.

Yet in our economy, we have noticed that certain jobs change the structure of the two-parent family and make one parent more ‘must have’ in response to the ‘must do’ demands of their partner’s job.

These Must Do Parents are with the family less NOT because they are selfish or immature. Must Do Parents cannot be physically present because of the uncompromising nature of the work that they do. They are cops or military or long-range truckers or emergency room personnel or attorneys or any one of the 50 million Americans working professions listed here. There is no such thing as work-life balance available.

So Must Have Parents step up and take on a little more.

Must Have Parents create the structure of the family. Must Have Parents keep track of doctor’s appointments and shot records and family routines and school schedules. Must Have Parents are more likely to take the day off to care for a sick child or to work from home because of a snow day at school. They are not necessarily stay home parents. They are not necessarily moms. Fathers and mothers become Must Have Parents because of job, not gender.

Extreme jobs can be hard on families.

Many of these professions with extreme demands have a higher stress level than others and sometimes a higher divorce rate.

Then again, extreme jobs can also offer a level of satisfaction that has been shown to directly benefit families.

That is why Must Have Families need to share the routines and structures and tips that work with the demands of the job, not against them. Take our quiz and find out if you are a Must Have Parent here. And share your Must Have story and questions here.