Do you still think a parent’s job is easy?

Minority woman with her children fighting in the background

I’ve always heard that being a dad or mom was the hardest job around, but I never really gave it much thought until I became a mother myself and as I write I realize how really true that is.

It’s a job that doesn’t come with an instructions manual or manufacturing manual. Every day is an opportunity to learn. It’s with the mistakes that we assimilate our “trial and error”. We could have thousands of people give us endless advice, but at the end of the day, what counts is how we deal with situations and their stressful moments.

               Everything begins the second the baby is a tiny seed with the countless hours of morning sickness in all times of the day. Our maternal instinct takes a hold of us while we carefully walk slowly to not slip and fall.  That unbreakable bond grows along with love as soon as you discover you are not alone. There are things you can’t explain, only feel. You start to notice your clothes no longer fit you the way it used to.  You don’t complain because you know it’s for a good purpose, the birth of your child which is priceless. Gradually that little one takes control over us, not letting us eat everything that we want without having his or hers approval first. To sleep or not to sleep? Depends on the position, otherwise you will feel a little tap letting you know to quickly move it.

               All this loses its precedence the second you start to feel your little miracle moving inside of you that you helped create with a true feeling of LOVE. Your little bambino recognizes your sweet voice and the sound of your beating heart. Before your little one wants to make his or her debut, stress befalls you with questions of concern regarding labor. Will I do everything right? Will I be a good mother or father? The questions are overlong filled with doubts… Curiously what instantly calms the nerves is when someone reassures us that we’ll be great parents and when that big day arrives -gratitude and pure joy is what we feel on knowing how everything worked out well. What about the pain? What pain, that all is forgotten the moment you hold your baby for the first time. We grasp that we are so much stronger than we comprehend and with this strength we can do anything.

                After the birth of your little angel come thousands of uncertainties. Cries and more cries… You’ve changed dirty diapers and you fed your little mini you but still the sobbing continues. Since communication is still not their forte, you have to put on your thinking cap and decipher what’s going on in that little ones soul. Colicky, tiredness or simply a tooth wanting to surprise everyone could be some of the culprits and all are reasons to keep you up at night. In times like these is when both parents have to put aside their thinking cap and now put on their patience hat just so they can attempt to clown around in hopes that the baby will forget about the pain that caused the tears.

Not always do tears have a concrete explanation. Sometimes they just want to be embraced in their parent’s arms or want to hear a lullaby that they remember hearing in the womb. Months go by and sleepless nights as well, and when that occurs you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as you realize that the small victories are really the big ones… Just like the first time your little one started crawling or the first reactions to certain foods worth documenting on camera. The joyous sounds your angel makes while laughing. The first steps taken without any assistance. Nothing compares to hearing “mama” or “dada” as the first words the very first time causing you to weep emotionally while you experience joy.

Once again time passes as it always will, and a little brother is born. There you will be introduced to the green eyed monster except this time it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your firstborn. The toys that they don’t want to share with the stranger that has been around now for some time but to a child that was an only child up until a few months ago, his sibling is still a stranger. Now comes the tough parts, instilling important values on our offspring. Sharing is of course one of them. Just like in all phases of life, there are ups and downs, all of which requires you to use your patience hat.

More so when you have three little ones and two eyes sure aren’t enough!  Especially when all they want to do is explore as if they were little Christopher Columbus’s and they end up getting into trouble! It doesn’t matter how many times you say “no” they interpret as a “yes” and they only stop at timeouts. Than those tantrums surface and a cry triggers another cry that triggers another cry. When you have three small kids it’s a symphony of cries. It’s not too bad when you’re at home, but when you’re out in public it’s a different story. All eyes are gawking at your every move like vultures waiting for their prey. You look around embarrassed knowing that if there was a whole in the ground you’d jump in. You begin to transpire as you silently pray that this episode will stop. Then you realize, wait a minute these people don’t know anything about us to be judging, most likely they don’t even have any kids to know what it’s all about.

If they knew they would know that kids need a routine to know what is expected, and if you change it even a little bit, and it’s bound to happen because that’s what life is made of, change, you will throw them off. Unfortunately people will judge without knowing the facts. They don’t know if your child didn’t have his or her routine nap, or if they are hungry or even if they wanted that chocolate that you refused to give. However if they had kids they would sympathize and perhaps give a sigh of relief that it’s not their kids! If you give in boy are you in trouble! Being a parent is knowing when to say yes or no. It’s also curing wounds after the many falls. Which are many not because no one was looking but because you say “walk” and they automatically hear “run”. As a parent you’re working overtime every day. Your time for yourself happens when they are fast asleep that is when you don’t fall asleep yourself first after all that chasing around.

You do your best to plan your days but know that not everything goes as planned. It is making memories with your children. It’s being nervous on your child’s first day of school. Listening to the same stories being told countless times. It’s keeping a watchful eye when the fever doesn’t drop. It’s being present when the first tooth falls out and then convincing your child to sleep so that the tooth fairy can do her surprise visit. Its letting them sleep in bed with you when they are frightened at the lightening. You’re always going to be a parent your whole life. Even when they grow up and think they know it all, and have a lot of friends to go out with. All those sleepless nights come back again. You start to pray that your kids are not in the wrong place at the wrong time and come home safe… Do you still think a parent’s job is easy?

 

 

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