Parenting like marriage is done on the job. It is not something that any of us are born to. It is true that some people do make it look easy, but it is only because we have picked a good day to visit. Just like our paying jobs have expectations of us, as parents we should also have expectations or goals that we reach as a parent.
Unless we are related to the boss, none of us are going to last long doing a half-ass job, as an employee. We may be able to charm ourselves into a job or hide behind another doing our work for us for a while, but if we stay or leave, will ultimately be decided by the employer when it comes time for the first layoffs or the probation period is over. If more of us took parenting equally seriously, we would have more parents dedicated to the long-term results of parenting.
Once we do recognize that parenting is not just about today but about releasing our adult child to a Society, that they will add to or subtract from, we will also understand the difficulty of parenting. To hear our children cry, knowing they are crying as a result of our punishing them, is not always easy. To watch them express their frustrations because their minds are ahead of their physical ability to perform, is not always easy.
The parent that raises the child according to the child’s needs and interests instead of the way they were raised, will always have a more difficult beginning than the parent that chooses to repeat the mistakes of their own childhood. They will however, reap a greater reward, when the job is done.
If we set long-term goals for ourselves, but always with the number one important job of our life, being the parent of our child or children we will achieve according to the willingness that we involve ourselves. In other words, just like the paying job, if we parent half ass by making our children the responsibility of the coach, YMCA,dance instructor, bible Camp,grandparents,neighbors, teachers, or anyone else but ourselves, we will have equal results.
To be a parent will mean loss of sleep, worry like you have never known worry, when your child or children are stricken with illness, sacrifice on some level for the rest of your life, many problems from a child being bullied to a child being abused by others, tears always, when the adolescent years set in and nothing can make them happy because of the mysterious hormones going wild, letting go when you need to let go and knowing it is not too early to do so,teaching them responsibility and independence even when perhaps you, yourself, have not yet learned it, and the list goes on and on for a lifetime.
So the next time you hear someone make the statement,”Parenting really isn’t that hard” rest assured, you are listening to someone who either hasn’t come to the fruition of their job as a parent or else someone who put themselves and their needs ahead of the child. Mankind wasn’t made to be a martyr or a saint but many times as a parent we will be called on to be both in order to raise a child to the full expectation of who they were intended to be.
Just as, sometimes we will be their best friends there will be times when we must be prepared to be their worst enemy, if we have raised our children to be the person or people who they were intended to be. A good parent will many times, find themselves humbled by both their own lack of knowledge as well as their own wisdom.
(Please Note: In a child’s world, simply telling them “NO” when it does not serve their best interest to tell them “Yes”, can often mean that we are their worst enemy. I am not speaking of the homes where parents belittle, neglect their own responsibility or abuse their children and do literally become their children’s worst enemy. )