I went to lunch with one of my single girlfriends and she quietly said to me, "I have to bring up a sensitive subject, and I'd really like your honest opinion. It's not going to be easy to admit, but I'd really like you to lay it all out there. Does being a parent really suck?"
I wasn't exactly sure I was hearing her correctly, but after further explanation, she really wanted to know if I hated being a parent. It's pretty popular right now to talk about how much being a parent sucks, and apparently she's been reading quite a few books/blogs where moms really rip on how horrible their everyday life is. What really made her prompt the question was an author on the Today show was talking about the bad parts of parenthood that nobody really shares. The problem is, everybody seems to share these days.
I didn't jump right in and say it was amazing, but I did have to say it's not nearly as bad as some of the things she's been reading. Much of parenting is hard, but life in general is hard. We could look at any lifestyle and complain about the bad parts. Being single sucks. Being married sucks. Growing old without children sucks. Being gay and not being able to legally marry everywhere sucks. Working full time sucks. Being unemployed sucks. Being a parent sucks. It all sucks.
That is, if we let it. Life is what we make of it. There are so many parts of parenthood that are rough, and many people, including myself sometimes, take to writing about them and adding a humorous spin to help make it all tolerable. Unfortunately, when you're not in that arena, and the only examples you see are telling you how shitty everything is, it's hard to imagine why anyone would actually choose to be in this world.
My life is far from perfect and I don't always love being a parent, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It's so far beyond awesome, and I may not always show it, but I feel privileged and blessed every single day that I'm allowed to raise my kids. Our lives are filled with laughter, pain, beauty and heartache, but most of all being a parent is amazing. It's also amazingly difficult. That's why people like to trash it.
I took a very round about way to answer my friend, but summed it up by telling her that being a parent isn't all negative. It may seem that way when you read parents write about the pain of having to push their kid on the swing or being bored while playing hide and go seek for the 400th time that week. It's not like that. It's like this: quite a few years ago, I had a friend that was diagnosed with cancer. She struggled for years and unfortunately lost her battle. Her biggest concerns were for her children. She pushed it as far as she could and survived longer than what was diagnosed because of her kids. Parents live for their children.
We sacrifice a great deal, but the rewards are so far beyond what we have to go through that it is incredibly worth it. The bottom line is, parenthood definitely doesn't suck.
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