Being a parent. Most people have a rose-tinted idea of what it will involve. An idea that this perfect baby will come along and that although their lives will change it will be in a positive, nurturing way that enriches their lives and shapes their future. I’m not here to contradict those notions.
I’m not here to tell you that parenthood is easy, nor hard. I’m going to tell you about being a parent from my point of view. The honest truth about what being a parent means to me.
My journey to being a parent wasn’t the easiest one but neither did we experience huge amounts of difficulty. After being told we would definitely need IVF in order to conceive we were shocked to discover I was pregnant about 6 years later, naturally. Pregnancy was mostly as I expected, morning sickness, the magic first kicks, the joy of seeing your baby on a scan, the discomfort of a baby playing football on your bladder, the miracle of birth. I’m not going to sugar coat that last part. Labour is called labour for a reason. It hurts!
But being a parent is a huge responsibility. I remember feeling overwhelmed at times. Knowing that I was entirely responsible for another human being was a bit daunting. I remember looking down at my son and wondering what life was like before him. Thinking that I don’t remember not being a mother. I still feel like that now. I look at my children (who frankly drive me mad at least half the time) and think “I made you”. I feel huge responsibility for raising them to be good people. Trying to teach them right from wrong, good manners and how to make good decisions. I know I won’t get it all right.
Being a parent can be the most frustrating thing in the world. When you’ve asked your children to put their socks on five times already and still you see naked feet. When you tidy the toys up for the 3rd time in a day and when a little voice asks “Can I have a snack?” for what feels like the 100th time. It’s sometimes hard to be calm when you haven’t had a moments quiet all day long. I sometimes play hide and seek just so that I can have a couple of minutes to myself. Finding a really good hiding place that is uncomfortable as hell but you know is somewhere they won’t find you for at least a little while.
It’s also amazing. Little things catch me every single day. Even on those days where I’ve had to shout because the socks still aren’t on, or when I haven’t had a moments peace. All it takes is one comment from one of the children that makes me realise they have learned something new, or a special squeeze because today I cut the sandwiches just the way they wanted. Or a picture they’ve made just for me. A smile because they’ve had a good day, or a kiss at bedtime.
It doesn’t have to be much, those little things keep you going. They keep me sane. They remind me why I wanted to be a parent.
Of course there are big things too. Like when your child finally learns to walk when you’ve been encouraging them to for weeks, those faltering little steps that fill your heart with so much joy you might burst. The good school report in which you are told that they are doing fine, that they are a pleasure to have in the class. The smile from a stranger when your children are behaving beautifully.
All these things are why I think being a parent is wonderful. Just don’t ask me if I feel the same after a particularly testing morning on the school run, I might not feel quite so positive then!
Written by our regular contributor Annwen.
All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Room To Grow.