Being a parent is the most rewarding thing that you will ever experience in your life. The joy of bringing a child into this world is something that words simply cannot explain. You get to watch your child grow and continue to learn new things every day. It is truly amazing. Coming from someone who never imagined having kids, now having two, I can say that it completely changes your entire outlook on life. Everything has a whole new meaning.
Before kids, you have an idea of what it would be like to be a parent. You think about staying up late with them, changing diapers, dealing with all of the spit up, the whole nine yards. But you don’t really understand the level of these things until you actually become a parent. It is hard work caring for a child. There is no doubt about it. But those long nights and exhausting days are so worth it! It is the best feeling when all of your efforts result in that cute little smile, or a big bear hug from your little one.
But there is also the other side of things that no one really prepares you for. Being a parent is not only physically exhausting, but it can also take a toll on you mentally. Being a parent requires a lot. Balancing your work life and your home life, making sure you are spending time with your kids, and taking advantage of every moment possible. And though you do everything in your power for your child, there is still something inside of you telling you that you could have done more. Your child is always thankful for everything you do for them, but you still don’t feel like you have done enough. Why? Why is it like this? No one really prepares us for the raw truth: we want to give our kids more than we can ever physically give them.
You have those rough days where you stay awake for hours soothing your child because he doesn’t feel good. You then wake up in pain because he wouldn’t let you put him down, and he slept on you the entire night. You have sacrificed your own sleep and comfort, and you still feel like it wasn’t enough. Or maybe you spent the majority of the day cleaning the house, and didn’t spend as much time with your child as you wanted to. Now they are asleep and you feel guilty. Maybe your child was acting out a little, and you had to get onto them a few times, and though it was needed, you feel horrible for punishing them. And how often is it that your child sees a toy at the store, and you wish that you could buy it, but you just can’t fit it into the budget that week. Of course they can live without the toy, but as parents, we always wish we could buy our kids whatever they want.
And then some days are just horrible. Maybe work was tough, and then you came home and had a rough night trying to get your child to listen. You get frustrated with them a little easier than you normally would because the day has completely broke you down. You then lay in bed playing the whole day over and over in your head. Why couldn’t it have went better? Unfortunately that is part of it. You have to take what life throws at you and to learn to make the best of the bad days. And just because you have one off day, doesn’t mean that your child is going to dwell on that one bad day. They are going to wake up the next morning and still appreciate everything you do.
These are the real things that you run into when you become a parent. There is always going to be something inside that tells you that you could have done more. It is a constant battle with yourself. Not only are you completely exhausted, but you are mentally drained. There is that overwhelming feeling of guilt. You want your children to be happy, and you also want to feel good about everything that you have done for them.
It is hard. You can go to the moon and back for your little one, and still feel like it wasn’t enough. And unfortunately, that is just something that we have to overcome as parents. It is completely normal to want everything for your child. What parent doesn’t want to give their child the world?
Realizing that you are enough for your child is easier said than done. And hey, you may not ever feel like what you do is enough. But you need to remember that no matter what you do, your child looks up to you. Even if both you and your child had a rough day and didn’t really see eye to eye, they are still going to school the next day bragging about all of the cool things that you do for them.
You can’t let this feeling beat you down. You are doing your best, and your child knows it. The smallest gesture will light up your child’s life. They may not acknowledge everything that you do for them. And let me tell you, that hurts! But they are kids. They don’t always know how to express their feelings. And, they are young, so they don’t realize exactly how much we really do for them.
So the next time you forget to read your little one their favorite bedtime story before they go to sleep, just remember, your child is just happy that you tucked them in. That you listened to their five minute long story about something that makes no sense at dinner (my son can’t be the only one that does that.) They are going to sleep knowing that they are loved. That their mom and dad are the absolute greatest people that they know. And the next time you feel guilty because you ended up buying the dollar stuffed animal instead of the fifteen dollar stuffed animal, (because who seriously wants to spend that much money on a stuffed animal that won’t get played with in a week) DON’T. As adults, we might think that the dollar stuffed animal sucks, but to our children, that is the coolest stuffed animal that they have ever seen.
Though kids drive us crazy, we need to also let them be our peace. One smile or hug from your little one can brighten any day, no matter how dark that day may be. Kids want us to not only love them, but they want us to be happy too. So what if you can’t literally give them the world. What you can give them is love, and that is enough for them. Your child thinks that you and your love are enough. And that is all that matters.
You still feel guilty? Embrace the pure love that children have. You have to remember that your child loves you. No matter what. With pure, unconditional love. They love everything that you do for them and they will never demand more from you.
Though as parents, we will naturally continue to try way too hard, and wish for way more than we can possibly ever give, we just need to remember one thing. All our children want is love.
So you know what? You are enough.
Say it again. You are enough.