I am always careful to say that parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. As it is, there are those who might argue that parenting shouldn’t be called a job because “dangit, if you think it’s work, you shouldn’t have brought those kids into the world to begin with.”
But maybe you haven’t quite grasped what it feels like to be responsible for the outcome of the future. This is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. Think about it: these little ones will grow older and rule the world someday.
What do we care, right? By that time, we might not even be around to see them screw it all up completely.
Maybe. But let’s set that side of the discussion for a different date.
Hard work. In my opinion, being a parent has often involved me constantly self-evaluating and checking to see where I screwed up for the day and what I can do to improve on it for the next day. I remind myself that I will show only love and patience for the day but I end up yelling anyway, threatening to make toys inaccessible for the rest of the day, arguing, arguing, arguing.
Hard work. Being a parent has no guidebook. One psychologist will say one thing, another will say something else. There are multiple methods, ideologies, theories, practices, advice from A to Z and from people who do and don’t have kids and feel it is their duty to tell you how to raise yours. The bonus? There is no one right way, not even for siblings. Because we are dealing with individuals. We are raising individuals. And each child demands personalised care and attention.
So what’s the hard work? We have to keep trying, keep experimenting, keep playing it by ear, and keep figuring things out. And accept that there’s only so much that we can do.
Because at the end of the day, they make their own choices. They make their own decisions. Because when it’s time to let them learn things on their own, our job will be to catch them when they fall and teach them to dust themselves off and keep going.
For now, I will be happy with this:
the way my boys adore each other and the way I don’t have to listen to them yelling at each other. Just yet. But we will be ready for that. We will be ready for the new lessons: for them, and for us.