The topic of parenting has been in the news a lot lately. Upon reading about a certifiable loon bringing octuplets into the world and a 60 -year old having twins, people have been quick to offer their opinions and judgements on who is qualified to be a parent.
Well, what is it like to be a parent?
Unless you are one, you can’t really ever know. Babysitting or having pets don’t give it the justice it deserves. Yet, we see all too often how some people treat this ultimate responsibility frivolously or as a hobby to try out. What some people fail to realize is that being a parent is NOT ABOUT YOU. It is about the life you have chosen to raise and become a contributing member of society. Being held accountable for a life is not something that should be chosen merely on a whim. There are consequences.
However, the rewards are rich and great.
What does being a parent entail?
It’s caring for someone who’s unable to care for themselves. Children need to be fed, clothed, dressed, and kept out of harm’s way. Parenting involves answering their coos, cries, and questions . It’s loading up the car to the brim for even the quickest trips . It’s enforcing sleep and anticipating when they’ll get hungry, tired or bored.
It’s needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
Being a parent is about constants. It requires your constant attention, constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, and constant relegation of your own needs to the back burner.
It’s unending scrutiny and second-guessing from family, friends, and even strangers, well-meaning and otherwise.
It’s resisting the temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone’s long-term expense.
It’s remembering past successes and failures, resolving the needs of the present, and looking ahead to the future.
It’s doing all of this while concurrently teaching virtually everything — language, manners, safety, independence, discipline, creativity, empathy. Everything.
I knew entering parenthood involved sacrifice. I knew that my son’s needs would be paramount to my own. This is easily the hardest (sometimes thankless) job I’ve ever had.But, any misgivings, fear, and apprehension I may have harboured before is disappearing with each passing day.
I look at my son and wonder. How did this happen? What did I do to deserve such joy?
I have so many hopes for him. I can’t wait.