As the year draws to a close and people everywhere have a million and one end-of-year functions to attend more and more parents find themselves in need of the services of a good babysitter. I have been babysitting for many years and found it to be quite lucrative. Then I thought, being a parent is much like being a babysitter, except that there is no one to relieve you at the end of your shift (the hours are sporadic at best). There is no salary (a big minus if you need money to survive) and the responsibility of ensuring that this little being is reared in the best way possible is as great as if you were the CEO of a major corporation.
So why do we do it then? Why do we go through all that pain (and believe me there is pain, they don’t call it labour for nothing) of childbirth for something that seems to have little to no reward? And why would parents who have more than one child do it over and over again?
Because there is a reward, one that is far beyond anything you can ever imagine. It may not be measured in monetary terms or seem to be of much worth in this materialistic world, but is much greater than you could perceive.
My children are all grown up now and it has not all been a bed of roses. There were times when I thought the hospital they were born in had made a horrible mistake and given me the wrong children. The one thing that has remained constant is that I love them unconditionally. It’s not something you plan, it just happens right from the moment they are born (and sometimes for parent’s right from the time they find out they are with child). When you hold your little baby in your arms you are overwhelmed by so many things. You immediately know that you will do everything in your power to love and protect him to the best of your ability. You may never be the best parent in the world but I reckon that as long as you strive to do your best that is good enough.
So how about those rewards I mentioned then? Well….You will receive great joy in seeing your child’s first smile, it has been known to be quite infectious you can’t resist smiling back. You will enjoy (yes enjoy) being drooled on and having bits of food all over your clothes when he first learns to eat solids. First steps are always exciting, thank goodness he has a nappy to land on when he stumbles. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then we get to the pre-school years….You will be entitled to receive very cute hand made mother’s day cards with lots of squiggly drawings that only your child can decipher. You will fill with pride watching him on stage at his very own nursery school concert where you just know (even though he may only have a minor role) he will be the star. When he puts his arms around you and says “I love you mommy” the feeling you will have inside your heart is so great you will feel like you have just won the biggest lottery on earth. It gets better and better as he grows into his own, and you get to watch how this little individual is becoming a grown up person. You will fill with pride at his many achievements and be there to help him along when he has doubts and sorrows.
I could go on and on about the many rewards of being a parent, but, for, me the only thing better than being a parent is being a grandparent.
Below is a Face book message I received from my daughter a week after her little girl was born:
Hey mommy, I just wanted to say THANK YOU! For putting up with us 3. I can only now understand and have a deeper appreciation for how difficult it must be being a mom. I love you. I really am having a hard time adjusting, but taking it every day at a time. *mwah* I really am grateful for everything you have done. xx your daughter.