The paradox of parenthood
Once you have been a parent for a while, you begin to realise what a total paradox it is the bulk of the time.
Parenting can be the most amazing experience, which brings overwhelming love, joy, happiness and an immense sense of pride. At the same time, parenting can bring pain, sadness, frustration and total despair. The interesting thing about parenthood is that these dramatically contrasting emotions can often happen simultaneously.
I have always felt that this famous Theodore Roosevelt quote applies to parenthood:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Giving birth is physically the hardest thing I have ever put my body through. None of the marathons I have run have been as physically demanding or draining or painful as giving birth to my four children, and yet I would have gone through that over and over again to get this prize at the end.
Being a parent has caused more anxiety than I ever knew was possible in life, and yet I’d endure that every day to get the pleasure of being a mummy to this bunch. Being a parent has made me more exhausted than I could ever have imagined feeling, and yet, some of the sweetest moments with my children have taken place during extreme sleep deprivation.
On the bad days you can feel like a total failure, you might also feel like just a servant, a referee, a cook, a taxi driver, a poop scooper and generally undervalued and invisible.
On the good days though you can feel like a superhero, on top of the world and invincible.
Some days you’ll feel all of these emotions in one day!
Parenthood is not all cheery families holding hands whilst skipping into the sunset through a field of bluebells. It really isn’t, as much as some Instagram feeds like to make you think that is the case.
Parenthood is hard, no doubt about it.
Is it worth it? Absolutely it is!
Every tantrum, every cut knee, every fall, every sibling fight, every sulking session, every cross word, every difficult minute, hour, day, every sleepless night, is all completely worth it.
When you pause from all the madness and chaos and look at your children and remember that you grew them, gave birth to them and raised them everyday to this point in time, you realise how incredibly lucky you are to have had these experiences, to have had the privilege of being their parent.
Parenthood is a sacrifice on so many levels. Many of us will sacrifice time, money and even a career, but it is a sacrifice that is so worthwhile. My children have enriched my live beyond belief, but they have also enriched the lives of so many others too – grandparents, other family members, other children, teachers, even total strangers. When I think about how they have impacted not only on my life, but the lives of so many others in such a short amount of time, I can’t help but think what they could do in a lifetime.
It might be a paradox, there might be days you’d rather not repeat, but for me – I wouldn’t swap it for anything.
…and those perfect moments, they do happen, they are real, but they don’t involve Instagram, skipping and bluebells, they are much more simple than that.