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.