Parenting is tough.
Understatement of the century, I know.
As if the basic parenting duties weren’t enough to fill your days — feeding them, clothing them, keeping them alive. We sign them up for sports, throw birthday parties, organize playdates, plan vacations, all the while trying to raise them to be good human beings.
Parenting: a Thankless Job?
We give every last ounce of ourselves, and we still end up wondering, do they notice? Am I making a difference? Do they appreciate it? Am I doing a good job? Does anything I do matter?
Truth is, we go through the season of parenting never really knowing the answers to any of these kinds of questions, because the answers aren’t with us. They’re with our children.
I recently celebrated a birthday and on my birthday eve before bedtime, Hubby and the girls sang Happy Birthday to me and brought out a cake with candles for me to blow out. Then, the girls handed me a bag with my gift in it. I was surprised because I didn’t remember seeing them crafting.
“I wonder what they made,” I thought.
As I began to picture a basket full of notes and drawings, I opened up the shopping bag to find a beautiful black purse inside.
We had been at the mall the day before and during our last several visits there, I was on the hunt for a bag. I wanted something large, simple but pretty, that I could put all my things in as well as their things that I end up holding when we’re out and about all day — water bottles, notebooks, or scarves and mittens since it’s Winter here. I basically need a diaper bag, but in purse form. Ha. I kept going back and forth on whether or not I ‘needed’ one and I kept coming to the conclusion that it could wait.
Well apparently these two didn’t think so. Before even heading to the mall that day, they had already planned on how to keep me preoccupied while they shopped and bought me a gift. My oldest had a friend with her that day so I wasn’t paying much attention to the shopping bags they were holding and apparently was off my parenting game because I didn’t suspect a thing.
I was a mess, absolute and complete mush, not just at the sight of my gift, but at what went into getting it. They planned it themselves, they kept the secret between the two of them, and they spent their birthday and Christmas monies on it.
When I was done ugly crying, I thanked them and said,
“I love it, I really do. But you didn’t have to spend your money on me, it’s too much.”
And then they hit me with the best present I will ever, ever receive.
“But you do it for us every day mom.”
And I’m crying again.
No Replacement For Parenting
There isn’t a parent out there that doesn’t want to give their kids the world. There isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t want to raise a good kid. And there isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t lose sleep over whether or not they’re doing those things. It’s easy to see shortcomings, because those are the most visible; doubt is easy to sow. It takes grace, humility and real self-love to find the good and praise the strengths, those we see in the mirror and those we see in other people.
So parents, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles or anyone pulling parent duty out there, don’t stop. Because it matters. Every single thing you do, it matters.
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