Earlier this week, I shared a post about how the chattering monkey phase my kids were going through was driving me nuts. Then later on that day, I participated in a discussion over on Twitter about how it seemed that so many parenting bloggers were trying to frighten or put future parents off parenting, so I wanted to take a moment to set the record straight.
The thing with parenting is this…
It’s a massive contradiction!
a combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another.
It’s the worst thing you’ll ever do!
On the one side, parenting is the single, toughest challenge I have ever faced. Every moment of every day, I am challenged by the role I play and by my children and throughout every phase of their growth and development too. Being thrust into motherhood, the way that I was, was incredibly tough, but I have come to realize, there is no easy way to become a mother. One day you aren’t one and the next day your are, and your life as you knew it is gone forever and you’re in this foreign territory and it’s scary! And the weight of that responsibility is at times so incredibly overwhelming. Not to mention the everyday challenges, learning to cope on little to no sleep, while muddling your way through caring for a new baby, when you have absolutely no idea what you are doing or WHY THEY WON’T STOP CRYING! Then you start weaning and you pour all of your love and effort into creating interesting meals for your baby, who thanks you by crying and spitting the food you have lovingly prepared, back in your face, sometimes there’s vomiting too! And next comes potty training. And I found that the toughest phase so far. It will stretch your patience and your ability to bounce back, when you’ve had to scrape shit out of your child’s underpants for the 7th time that week. Not to mention slipped in the pee they made on the floor.
Then there is all the worrying. Selecting the right schools, doing a good job, being there for them. Pretty much, I’ve come to realize that being a parent is a selfless act. On so many levels you give up who you are, you’ll be less of a priority and your children will always come first. Their well being, their happiness, what they need and want, will come before your own needs and wants. And I can be a pretty selfish person, so this has been tough for me. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to be left alone for half an hour to read my book, but with kids, that’s just never going to happen. They are narcissistic egomaniacs. As they should be, that’s how children grow and thrive, how they learn and develop. Obviously this will change as we move through the phases and age groups, but when they’re little, it’s all about them, all of the time.
Trying to reason with a child is like farting in a hurricane or herding cats. It’s impossible. And it’s exhausting and at times it has brought me to tears.
Sounds pretty horrid right? But here’s the flip side of parenting:
It’s the single greatest thing you’ll do in your life.
And that’s the contradiction, right there. For all it’s horrors, parenting has been my greatest gift, my greatest privilege. I think I speak for most, if not all parents, when I say this: I had no idea what pure, true love was, till I had my children. I didn’t understand selfless love until they came into my life. I never imagined a love that could be so deep and so wide that it would overwhelm me. I never imagined that I could love another being so much that I’d wrestle a tiger or stand in front of a speeding train and sacrifice myself to save them. And there is such beauty, such privilege, just SO much in that statement and it’s that which makes every trial, every poo nappy, every vomit down my back, every tear of frustration, worth it.
Don’t be put off by parenting because of what you read online!
Most of the time, us parenting bloggers share our stories because we know so many parents who are struggling with the same things we are and because there is also humour in the horror.
But remember this, for all it’s contradictions and challenges, it is the single greatest thing I have done with my life. Nothing could have prepared me for it, nothing can ever come close to it. The fierceness of my feelings for my children is my greatest privilege and it’s my home.
When I feel there little arms around my neck. When they touch me with their grubby hands and tell me they love me, nothing else matters.