Whilst we are still on the parenting series, let me start by putting it out there. I love being a parent (can you tell?) and I am thankful for the opportunity to be entrusted with these precious lives; to love, nurture and teach kids and also be given love in return - love is a beautiful thing (as the song goes).
However, with all the love and care in the world, parenting comes with HUGE responsibilities; it's not a walk in the park and definitely not a role for the faint-hearted. So I hereby say "well done" to all you parents out there...doing your best to raise a young family, bringing up the next generations. I salute you 👏🏼👏🏼 👏🏼
I am not done yet with the parenting thing but glad I am not where I used to be.
I clearly can't write about all the pros & cons of parenting but I've selected a few that struck a cord with me, starting with the cons:-
Cons 1 - Financial drainage:
Let's start with the dip in your "pocket" when you become a parent. So much to pay for; starting with preparing for the baby's arrival, cot, Moses basket, baby clothes, toiletries, buggy. The cost of buying all these items all add up. Then you have to pay for nursery fees or creche if you decide to go back to work.
After all the initial buying, the constant flow of money never really stops! Or does it? This is one major con I would write about parenting, albeit a stable job is highly beneficial, at least to bring in constant flow of money which equates to the continuous outgoings.
Con 2 - Lack of sleep:
Another con is the sleepless nights when they are babies. To all you new mummys out there, please remember every child is different and their sleeping patterns do vary, so quit beating yourself up or comparing habits with your friends, the "sleepless nights" phase shall pass! For some reason, the body manages to cope on few hours of sleep a day, but not in the long term! One way around this for me, was to have a nap when my babies were fast asleep, although that was easier said than done, I can honestly say I didn't ALWAYS achieve it! As soon as my baby fell asleep, that would be the perfect time for me to mop the floor or put another load of washing on or even cook. Multi-tasking was a word I used often (and still do!). Women are great at multi-tasking but not to the detriment of our health. The chores are never ending I seem to remember, though it got easier as time went on, my baby grew older and started becoming a little more independent. Even the "independent" stage came with its own challenges. I vividly remember whenever I was in a hurry to go somewhere (be it baby check ups, doctors appointments etc) or get something done, that would be the time baby would practice independence, by attempting putting on their socks or shoes (arrrrhh). I had to pretend to be fine with this attempt of "helping mummy" whilst cringing inside. I learnt a lot of patience during this stage and even had to practice perseverance as time went on, as they grew older and became quicker with the tasks.
Cons 3 - Upset from school:
This was a common occurrence with my daughters rather than my son. In fact, I can't really re-collect my son coming home from school complaining about his friends, other than the odd banter about the different football teams they supported. With my girls, it was about friendship groups and not speaking to this person or that person. They had friends...lots of good school friends but there was always one drama or another. At first I would get upset myself, seeing them unhappy, then I would quickly remind myself 'this too shall pass' before I knew it, they have made up with the so-called bad friend and they are besties again! The lesson for me here was not to take every story my child told me too seriously but listen good and KNOW when to act (by speaking to the school or parents of the child, if I was close to them - I was friends and still am, with most of their friends thanks to Facebook connection), or ignore it and let it pass by, as in most cases.
Disclaimer: please listen to your gut feelings and take appropriate actions. As parents, we know when something is REALLY wrong with our little ones. My intuition was always right though...Thank God for a discerning heart.
Cons 4 - Sickness:
There was always one bug or another with babies, I could never get my head around the constant runny nose or temperature. Thankfully, it was just the norm with their peers and nothing major but the medicine cupboard was always filled with baby Calpol, cough mixture, vitamins, not forgetting the thermometer and baby vicks to decogest their chest. I was so happy when that phase quickly went by.
Now moving on to the pros
Pros 1 - Independent behaviour:
One highlight of a thriving child is the attempt to act independently even at a very young age - as toddlers; starting with feeding themselves, with half the amount of food on the floor or on the high chair. My kids were always so keen to help themselves leaving me with more cleaning to do! I soon embraced it as part of the learning process of a growing child and reminded myself not to worry too much about the mess they created.
Not only did they enjoy feeding themselves but they also attempted to dress themselves which often resulted in putting their clothes the wrong way around (ha!). Patience is indeed a virtue!
Babies and children do know just how to test your patience and I can honestly say mine grew exponentially!
Another highlight for me was when they started showing interest in cooking or baking and would sometimes make me a surprise birthday cake just like this photo below. They started young!
It's still good to see the interest in cooking & baking nowadays even as they grew older.
The cake below was baked by my daughter few days ago! How creative is that?!
My son loves chicken and has learnt to make his very own home made Kentucky fried chicken (happy days).
Pro 2 - Displayed talents
I enjoyed driving all my children to their various sporting events, be it in school or outside school; they took part in various school competitions, clubs and also represented their county. I'd like to think we are a sporty family (with exception of me!) with my eldest child selected as one of the youngest in her group to travel to China to represent her school internationally, in the World Schools Athletics Competition! I remember applying for a visa and even leaving work early to collect it from the embassy. We all prepared for the trip, being the first time she traveled out of the country to compete. We were even invited for dinner by the Mayor and his wife to mark the occasion. What an achievement for all the youngsters involved (another proud mum moment!).
My other children were also active in music and sports, they represented their school in tag rugby, cricket, football, athletics, school choir - I still remember the visit to the O2 to watch them sing alongside, a whole bunch of other school kids, as part of the "Young Voices" programme. It was an awesome experience for all involved. I still have the brochure as a keep-sake.
Let me conclude here by saying parenting comes with the ups and downs but thankfully there are more highs than lows. Let us continue doing our best to see our children flourish, because when they do, we are happy parents!
What aspect of parenting drives you crazy? what are your most cherished moments? feel free to share.