It’s amazing how many people consider parenting as ‘hard work.’ What’s with that? OK, yes it’s a life changing, selfless act, and it always keeps you busy, but it’s not ‘work’, and it’s definitely not ‘hard’, it is monotonous, but it’s also the joy of being a parent.
I’ve worked with my children alongside me since the day they were born, literally. I breast-fed them till they were both 16 months old and they were essentially attached to me for 18 hours a day for their first two years. I did what I had to do to be a mother, a provider and a care-taker for my sons, and for not one minute did I consider what I did for them to be ‘work.’
Now that they are older, and a little more independent (well, a lot more considering what I did for them back then), I still enjoy being in their company, being there for them when they need me, but I also respect their needs to grow independently and discover themselves. They have their little chores to do to show responsibility to the family unit which of course, they consider to be work, but the day-to-day activities I do for them – making lunches, washing clothes, making their dinner, cleaning up after them, taking a forgotten hat to school, homework activities, driving them to sports meets, whatever I do for them, it’s what I do to be a mum for them. It’s not work, it’s just busy!
I do feel sorry for the parents who believe that being a parent is a hardship. That they are ‘put out’ by the fact that they have to teach their children to help around the house, cook them meals, wash their clothes, clean up their vomit, get the chewing gum out of the hair…. You wonder why they became a parent in the first place? Even as a single parent, you don’t think for one minute that you wish you didn’t have to do clean up the undigested lasagna that’s sprayed all over the carpet when you forced your child to eat their dinner and they kept telling you that they weren’t feeling well. You just do it, because no one else will do it and it has to be cleaned up. You don’t banish your kids for doing such a horrible thing, you show compassion and guilt that you didn’t realise that they were ‘that sick.’
Being a parent is a privilege. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my boys in my life. It definitely wouldn’t be as fulfilling, it certainly wouldn’t be full of love, cuddles and laughter, and there would be nothing to be proud of. And really, that’s what the rewards are for just being ‘busy.’