On Parenting and Balancing Life
A friend recently posted an article about women that choose not to have children, which spurred an internal response of why I did choose to be a mother and various aspects of parenting for me. I’m sure this is partially influenced by the addition to our family this year as well. Before I write anything about my own life though, I think its important for me to clarify the purpose of my writing. Specifically, I’m not writing this to offend anyone or suggest that their way of parenting is wrong.
First, I completely respect the decision by others to not have children. I especially respect making that decision and not having children then. Being a parent is a commitment, one I find very rewarding, but a commitment nonetheless. My heart also goes out to those that would like to be parents, but for whatever reason, they are not able to. Some of them have gone through very painful experiences that I can never imagine. They are parents too and in a way that many of us hope to never understand.
Parenting is a unique experience for everyone, even husband and wife. Consciously or not, we analyze our own childhood bringing its influence in one way or another to the raising of our children. And because any two parents will have different childhoods (at least in this state!), they bring a combined influence that is unique for their children. None of that says that any one parenting style is wrong though. We each cobble together what makes sense to us and I pray that God takes a hand in there and makes it all work.
Respect given to others, I am proud of the life that we lead and I love it day in and day out.
Why I am a Mother
Last night I was up at 12:43, 1:06, 2:01, 2:05, ~5, and 5:30. I have gotten 2 nights of solid sleep in the past 9 months or so. Sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique, so why would I volunteer for this gig?! Despite the numerous wake up calls, I woke up today and pulled myself together to face the day and accomplish something. I didn’t dictate what that something had to be, but I was determined to do something, which I did.
I’ve always known that I wanted to have children. Honestly, I always wanted to have a little girl named Elizabeth for very personal reasons. That’s not what I was given, but I love my little boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything (but I’m also not thinking of trying for a third, haha).
For some time when we were dating, my husband had fish that I helped care for. We had panda corycats successfully breeding. Baby plecos as well. And then one day they all died. Babies and adults. All dead. And my husband was out of town for a conference. At the time I kept thinking, “if we can’t keep fish alive, how will we ever raise children?”
Parenting isn’t easy, but thankfully it has turned out better than my fish raising skills. There are aspects of parenting that constantly challenge us to rise above and be the parent rather than the friend. Such as waking up all night and helping teach the child how to go back to sleep. But knowing when they are in pain and need more help than usual. And the never ending task of teaching them how to express their emotions (good and bad). These are all great responsibilities, but with them come a great joy.
Parenting is deeply rewarding. The first smile and first laugh are worthy of happy tears. Helping them explore the world, learn new skills and words, and hearing them randomnly tell you “I love you chicken nugget!” I have the privilege of singing and dancing with my kids whenever we feel like it (which is often). Each day, I’m faced by a bright shining face (or two) that says, “Mommy!” with words or expressions. And now I watch them with a relationship all their own, where the younger child adores the older child, despite the older child’s attempts to “teach him roly poly.”
I’ve also had a “mother hen” tendency since I was little. As a little girl, I was caring for the numerous kittens around me. As I grew older, I became protective of my friends. Some have commented on how I protect a team at work. And now I have my brood to protect (in this case my brood includes my hubby…). Maybe it comes from my father because he was a sheep farmer for some time (and a goat farmer now). An analogy from a church leader comes to mind as well, where he described the things that are so important to us that they are a brick wall in our heart and we never let anyone come close to knocking it down.
With both the challenges and rewards, we are a very close family, the four of us. My boys, and me, the lone woman of the house. We play hard. We work through the challenges and we come out stronger each time. I feel a sense of connection that I can’t get anywhere else. Its worth protecting such an amazing experience. Nothing could ever compare to the joy I get from my family each and everyday. That is why I am a mom. And my little burrito can call me a chicken nugget any time he wants.