parenting is good

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Over the weekend someone told me that they had never heard a positive thing about parenting, that all they heard about children were negative birth stories, depressing tales of sleepless woes and dealings with bratty kids in the day time, and it was quite enough to put a dampener on the idea of having children thank you very much.

I don’t usually take much notice of this type of comment, but this one kept coming back to bite me over the last few days.

Is my experience of parenting really just one negative experience after another? And is this the impression I am putting out into the world?

It is so easy to get caught up in the sighing, rolling-eyes-type-conversation when someone asks you how things are going and you’re standing there on four hours of broken sleep with a toddler pulling your pants down and a baby eating a dead fly from the floor (yes, that happened last week). I realise that I am guilty of this.

But there are so many things that are impossible to fit into an answer to the question: how’s things?

Like how I lay in bed with Birdie each night before sleep and she wraps her arms around my neck and whispers I love you in my ear.

Like how the Pixie kicks her legs while I’m changing her nappy and giggles such a fat giggle when I tickle them.

Like the feeling of a little hand holding mine while we walk down the street.

Like the sound of laughter echoing from inside my house when I walk up the path.

Like seeing the look of pure wonder in my children’s eyes when they see little seedlings pushing their way up through the soil from seeds we have planted.

Like the satisfaction and wholeness I feel when I stand in my kitchen having cooked a meal and watch tiny mouths eat and be nourished.

Although I continually feel I am completely unqualified for this job of parenting, nothing compares to this path I am on. Nothing compares to the feeling of fullness in my life, the substance, the essence.

So next time someone asks me how’s things? I will be sure not to roll my eyes, not to complain of being tired, not to whinge about Birdie’s latest antics. I will hold my head up high and say really good thanks, knowing that by saying that I mean all of the things I’ve listed above, and that is enough.

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13 thoughts on “parenting is good

  1. Oh there are definitely some challenging times in the hood…motherhood that is. However, like you said, there are so many magical moments. I love how my daughter studies my face. I love when we make eye contact for the first time that day and her face lights up. I love how she immediately stops crying when I sing. I love how she melts into me after a feeding. I could go on and on.

  2. This is a great reminder to be honest! It can be easy to be negative because the task is HARD, but overemphasizing the positive can alienate people who aren’t loving the experience 24/7 and wondering if that makes them a terrible parent (it doesn’t!). I’m guilty of overindulging in tales of woe and need to remember to talk with balance about parenting. Thanks for the push!

  3. This is beautiful Lucy! Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been having some tough days with my LO who is having a bit of separation anxiety, which means I haven’t been able to go to the loo without a crying baby in the background for weeks! But the joy, oh the joy, of watching every new experience and the wonder in his eyes, of the pure love and devotion that has welled up inside me, and the depth it has brought to my relationship with my husband, it’s worth it!

    • Thank you Sally! Separation anxiety is hard and can be taxing. Not great when people are saying “enjoy this time when they want to cuddle” etc. Sometimes you just need someone to acknowledge that things are hard, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t also great! Hope you get a private loo moment in the very near future!

  4. I LOVE this, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot too. Most, if not all, of the best things in life are challenging and really hard sometimes. It’s good to be honest about difficulties when people want to know about that too but anyone who talks to us should walk away thinking “wow! She really loves her kids!” 🙂 Thanks again for such a sweet post!

  5. A friend of mine is about to go on maternity leave with her first baby and commented that she didn’t know what to expect for ‘life after next week’. My response was that it will be like no ride she’s ever experienced, harder work than she can possibly fathom, but more wonderful than in her wildest dreams and worth every moment. Even in the more challenging moments, I feel so so blessed to be a parent and I hope that is always the impression I give. Great post and a good reminder, thanks Lucy x

  6. Beautiful post I think trying to focus on the positive is so important and the more we do the better things seem. Even if it is super hard to do when you’re tired and a toddler is pulling your pants down (which happens here a lot)

  7. Your thoughts are absolutely spot on and beautiful, Lucinda. It’s much, much easier to articulate the negatives of parenting and very hard to put into words all the reasons why the negatives ultimately don’t matter a bit. x

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