- Published on Saturday, 24 July 2010 11:09
There are plenty of people around, however, who don't share such a positive outlook on child-rearing. "I lost so much. I can't go out at will anymore. I can't head to the bar at 9pm for drinks. I can't stay up all night and head to work with a bottle of Tylenol in my purse - for the hangover. I can't climb the ladder at work as quickly, proving that women are just as smart as men. I have to find a sitter every time I want to leave for a weekend. My food bill is 3x higher now. I have bags under my eyes and never get enough sleep. I'm exhausted - all the time."
Submitted by Shara Lawrence-Weiss
Ask anyone who has waited for years to adopt a family member addition, "Do you appreciate your child?" and you're sure to get a confused look. "Appreciate my child? Are you kidding? We were infertile and spent $10,000 trying to conceive. After that didn't work we decided to adopt. That ran us several thousand in legal fees, too. When we finally got our arms around this kid, we cried for ten days, barely coming up for air. Yes. We appreciate our child. We just wish everyone appreciated children this way."
Ask folks who have 5+ kids, "Do you appreciate your children?" The answer is typically (yes, typically), "Of course. We love kids. Why do you think we had so many?"
From the Mayo Clinic we read:
Of the millions of sperm in the ejaculated semen, only about 200 actually reach the egg in a woman's fallopian tube. But, just one is needed to fertilize the egg.
In other words: only one sperm gets through, out of millions, in order to create a life.
Not every human body can produce, or house, a baby. For those who can, the process is often taken forgranted. For others, they embrace every milestone, every hiccup, every kick, every ultrasound photo, every somersault and every daily thought of what will be.
For those who feel as though they have given something up, though, it might be helpful to ask "why." Of all the things in this world that can be replaced - people are not included in that list. No human being can be duplicated. No mind can be duplicated. No heart, no soul and no individulized future can be duplicated. Even if cloning were a reality (or an ethical one, at that), the exact DNA, fingerprints and personality could never be perfectly mastered. It's simply not possible for man to re-create something that isn't man-made to begin with.
When you take all of this into account, you can't help but look at your child(ren) and think:
"They really are worth my time. They are worth my attention and the giving up of frequent booze runs. My kids tire me out but nothing could possibly compare to the way my heart feels when I lay down beside my child and he/she places that tiny little head on my chest. When those little fingers wrap around mine, trusting that we'll cross the road safely together - I realize - this little person needs me to lead. I could remain in selfish thought all day long about what I'm missing but am I really missing those things? Really? At the end of the day, back then, did I feel loved by the people serving me beers and drinks? Yeah, right. As long as I had cash, they 'loved' me. As long as the men were getting something from me, they 'loved' me, too. My self esteem was in the dumps and I knew, at night, when my head hit the pillow, that no one cared about me. Truly cared about me. I did everything I could to fill up my days and nights with fun and outings so that I'd feel worthwhile. Pathetically validated somehow through empty and meaningless interactions with people and things. And now - I have this little person who thinks I hung the moon. This person that I co-created who loves me even after I yell. Even if I don't shower or get dressed up. This person wants nothing more than to learn from me and to love me. How could anything else matter more than that? How?"
I've been there. Many of you have been, too. And you know...when you put aside the self-centered desires to self gratify, and accept responsibility for the irriplaceable Mini Humans in your life, your thought pattern modifies. Little by little the narcissism drips off as the appreciation takes over. You soon feel blessed that you've been given the privilege of raising future grown-ups who will be someone's spouse or parent. With that appreciation comes an understanding that children learn from modeled behavior. If they see an angry, bitter, drunk parent - they will likely BECOME an angry, bitter, drunk parent. If love and gratitude are modeled for them, love and gratitude will be the lessons they later model.
This doesn't make you any less cool. It doesn't make you any less intelligent or any less successful. What it makes you is the kind of parent every angry grown-up wishes they had.
Appreciate your kids. What have you got to lose?
ABOUT the Author:
Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Kids Perks. She has a background in education, early childhood, nanny work, published freelance, marketing and special needs.