It’s February and you know what that means? It’s all about love. Chocolate hearts, cards with warm sentiments, sharing it with those who mean so much to us. But this month, instead of thinking about how much I love my husband, I switched it up a bit and put my kids in there. I really wanted to explore why I love being a parent.
Now look, you know as well as me that it’s not all wine and roses, something I talk about a lot. I try to paint a realistic view of parenting, the joys as well as the pains, and there are plenty of both. My challenges now are a little bit different in that my little ones are not so little (in fact, one of them is taller than me) and they talk back. A lot. But even with that said, I still love being a mom.
Today I was thinking a lot about it and what exactly it was that I loved so much about it. I think it’s different for every stage I’ve experienced with my kids.
LOVE IS-A TRUE SMILE: I’ll never forget when my daughter smiled at me for the first time. Of course she had done it before but those gassy grins don’t count. But when she was about eight weeks old, she broke out into a huge grin in response to my cooing at her. My heart fluttered so wildly I thought I might faint. I still feel that way sometimes.
LOVE IS-GENUINE EMOTION: To me, there are few things better than being greeted by a toddler. You remember don’t you? They spot you from across the room and drop whatever it is they were doing to run to you and clasp their plump little hands around the back of your neck, completely pure in their adoration. They don’t even have to say, “I love you” since it’s showcased in the most transparent fashion.
LOVE IS-REAL CARING: My kids are teenagers now and sometimes it’s hard to get a gauge on what they’re feeling, since most of their answers to my questions are monosyllabic. But the other day, I slipped and fell on the ice. My son dropped his book bag to come help me up, and then took over the role of salting the rest of the driveway. My daughter, as soon as she got home, walked over to the cupboard to get me some pain relief medication. Each in their own way demonstrated true care and concern for me and it made my heart swell.
LOVE IS- ALL THAT AND MORE: I have no idea what the next several months or years may bring. But I do know that even in my perfect imperfection, my children love me and you know what that means? I did something right. All those nights I lay awake wondering if I was causing irreparable damage because I wasn’t “doing it right” were just wasted energy. Parenting is such a visceral thing, given there’s no handbook that comes with that 8-pound baby. So even though I was feeling my way through the day (and continue to) it’s moments like this that make me see that clearly I’m doing something right.
What about you, what do you love about being a parent? Which of your kids’ age did you love best and why?
Evenflo Savvy Parenting Expert Rene Syler, founder of Good Enough Mother