Traits of Must Have Families 

Some jobs deserve a little more room 

Engaging All-In Career

The key characteristic of a Must Have Family is the presence of an extreme job with extreme demands.  Impossible hours, mega travel, deployment or living apart force a family to respond with the kind of strategies that make family life simpler.


Young Children  

The most demanding part of of a Must Do career usually comes at the same time as the most demanding part of parenting--when kids are young. Establishing the patterns of family life early eases both family life and life at work and sets you up for less complicated teen years.


Not Enough Time

The family may admit the demands of an extreme job offer some benefits in terms of income, stability, and job satisfaction, but by their nature they take away available hours of parenting.  That leads to frustration, anger, guilt and fatigue. 

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Partner to Hold Down the Fort

The Must Have Parent is Must Have because they are fully present.  In addition to their own work, they pick up a larger share of the parenting load in order to accommodate their partner's job and the never ending needs of kids.  


Complicated Gender Roles

Must Have Families are created by the demands of an extreme job, not traditional ideas about mommies at work and daddies at home.  The family accepts that that MDP's job is more than a job; it is often a calling.  That kind of work has been show to benefit families in ways that make new ideas worthwhile.



We live in a culture where it seems like everyone believes you can only be a good parent if you both spend more time at home.  Period.  End of story. But what if there was another way? Must Have Parents and Must Do Parents are open to  new ways of doing things that create opportunities for family peace, order and good will.