Why Parenting is Hard
I have theory, and I think it's universal - from McKinney Texas to the most remote places around the globe: Parenting isn’t so much about growing little people into adults - of course, it’s every bit of that - but, in the big, big picture, it’s growing adults into better people. In every moment of parenting, it was me who was being grown, moulded, reshaped, mended, broken, and mended again. Everything I thought I knew - about life, about children, about what kind of parent I would be (I’ll never do it THAT way) - dissolves. And when it does, it gives way to new wisdoms. New insights. New emotions. New acceptance.
Before having children, I thought I was smart. Raising children taught me that there is more to the value of a person than intelligence. I thought I was strong. Raising children has broken me harder than anything else in life - and made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I thought I was humble ; gentle ; patient. Raising children taught me I was arrogant. And the humble sweetness of a sleeping baby melted my heart of stone - and then that baby grew to a strong willed, independent human with thoughts and words of their own, teaching me that patience and empathy is sometimes a hard lesson. Speaking of lessons. I have a little slogan I’ve been saying for years: Every child is a gift, and all of God’s gifts come with a lesson.
But that’s really the point, isn’t it. We are on a journey to grow into a mature and wise, well rounded, compassionate human. That itself is a gift.; our ability to grow and change. And we grow through life’s experiences - its gifts. And children, arguably the greatest gift we can be blessed with, brings the greatest lessons - the greatest growth.
So parenting is hard. Because we are also parenting ourselves - or our Creator is parenting us by making parents out of us. And in so doing, also making good people out of us in the classroom of life. So when your days are long and hard, remember, you are getting stronger, wiser, gentler. And as you go, you will teach them how also to be stronger, wiser, and gentler. You will teach them how to give grace, because you had to give yourself grace today. You will teach them that rest is as valuable as diligence, because today good sleep was more important than a perfectly clean kitchen. You will teach them that people are more important than things as you snuggle, talk, and read to them while a little laundry waits.
When you are expecting, noone tells us how hard it really is to be utterly exhausted , and still totally responsible for someone else. Noone tells you that sometimes you feel lost or like you don’t know who you are or how to be who you thought you were or want to be. Noone tells you that breastfeeding isn’t all that “natural” for everyone - easy and full of warm fuzzies and rainbows or that diapers can “blow out” (usually at the most inconvenient and embarrassing moments). No one tells you that you can feel the most intense pain of joy and the elation of sorrow simultaneously. So you wonder if you are broken. If you are doing it wrong, if you can catch up, or breathe, or if you will ever feel like you again. Hang on sister. It’s not all sunshine everyday, but collectively, it is otherworldly.; devine, in a mundane and beautifully ordinary sort of way. You won’t hardly be aware of so much of these first days; months. But the growth comes in stealthy little dribbles here and there, and you’ll get to know each other along the way. And before you know it, you are ordering graduation cards and caps and gowns. And you’ll think, “When did I grow up?”
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