As I write this, I am laying in bed listening out for my sleeping toddler. She’s asleep, but after a nasty fall, my mom-heart won’t allow me to sleep. There are many people who see parenting as dealing with little human dolls or taking candy away from a brat. But that’s not the essence of parenting. That is not what being a parent even comes close to.
I will admit that before having a baby, I didn’t realise all of the responsibility that comes from being a parent. From committing to a human and fighting to keep them alive. Then fighting to give them the future that they deserve. I am a mother now, and I carry that with me in everything I do and everywhere I go.
Being a parent isn’t just about biology, it is a choice
My daughter spent nine months in my belly before she graced the world. Nine whole months of her heart beating in sync with mine. Nine months of her life depending on my lifestyle choices… Yes, I am a biological mother, but that is not what makes me a parent. It is very sad to see that title taken away from adoptive parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
When my mother passed away, I moved to live with my dad, but my grandmother wrote letters to me every single month. She always had me over to her place whenever she could and she cared for me in ways that only a mother could. In my books, my grandmother was my mother. The kids whose biological parents are in prison or living a random life, and are raised by other people, are blessed to have parents that chose to raise and educate them. The kids who were adopted into new families are blessed to have parents who chose to call them their own.
Parent… It’s such a simple word with so much weight.
Being a parent isn’t as easy as giving birth to a human and filming their lives for all to watch. It also isn’t just about showing up to birthday parties and taking cute pictures. Parenting is a real minefield and if you don’t play your cards right, you will ruin more than one life. What you do, how you do it and the values you teach will have a lasting impact for generations to come.
I admire parents who are working very hard to give their children the best they can. It’s admirable to see parents taking on more than they can bear in order to secure a future. And I remember my own mother who made sure everything she did was setting an example of the lives my sister and I should live. It’s that sense of purpose and intention that I hold dearly to this day.
Related: Accepting grief: Breaking the cycle
Being a parent means laying in bed with an eye half-open because you are watching your sleeping child. I’ve never had good sleep, but since becoming a parent, my body has adjusted to unrest. It’s the colds, the fevers, the throwing up, the injuries… all of those are enough to leave you praying that your child lives to see another day. All of those have you constantly checking on your child to make sure they are doing ok.
Being a parent means sacrificing yourself for someone else. I’ve been asked by so many people what parenting feels like, and my simple answer is sacrifice. As a parent, you sacrifice your desires, your comfort, and your dreams to make sure that your child gets theirs. I had my daughter at a time in life when all the stars were basically aligned, and yet I still sacrificed a lot. And I do not regret a single thing. I don’t need the parties. I don’t need expensive clothes. And I sure as hell don’t need the lifestyle. I love that my days have a purpose. I love that I am working towards something special. It’s an honour to have someone walk in my shoes – both literally and figuratively. So I will sacrifice my aimless ventures and be the role model she needs.
But being a parent is very beautiful
Though they form a significant portion of parenting, the struggles are not all that parenting is about… There definitely are the small joys that keep us going. It’s those little hugs for me. It’s the sloppy kisses with chocolate-covered lips. It is everything from the finger holding to the snuggles and even the apologetic hugs.
I lost a mom and I was blessed with a daughter. While that hole will never be filled, my heart has tripled in size with the love I feel for my spawn. They say you never know what unconditional love is until you have a child, and I must agree.
You know what? Some things just can’t be explained.