Never Forget to Treasure the Little Joys of Parenthood!
featured on the essential life
Parenting is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding, jobs out there. It is more than a lifestyle, more than a title, & more than just a duty you pick up for 18 years.
Becoming a parent, & more specifically, a mother, is a lifelong commitment that will fill your life with tears, rage, fear, pride, & love. It can happen to anyone, at any time, in any place. There are no set rules or requirements for becoming a parent, & they can come in all different types.
For me, I became a parent at 16-years-old. Before that, I knew of two different kinds of parents. At 4, I was adopted into a wonderful, loving home. I was blessed with the chance to also get to know & build relationships with my biological family, & from an early age, I could witness how different life paths can take you to different places as a parent.
Of everything I have learned so far as a mother, the most important lesson would be to truly value those little moments of success. The times where a connection is made. Love & all of the gifts it brings is the best part about parenting & it's what makes it all worth it in the end. Hardships will always be there, but with a bond between parent & child, you can overcome any obstacle. That's my theory, at least.
So, what sort of little joys are we as parents collectively ignoring & taking advantage of? As adults, it's easy to get focused on the big picture. For our children, especially the younger ones, they can see things much more clearly & can find pleasure in the small parts of life we tend to overlook.
As my son grows older, soon turning 4, I am constantly reminded to look at things in this world as something new & exciting.
To our miniature humans, everything they touch for the first time is a brand new discovery, full of wonder & excitement. Watching them explore & learn is such a simple yet fulfilling experience, so don't waste it. Soon, they'll be just like us, having seen everything there is to see under the sun. So share this journey of discovery with them. Let yourself be filled with childlike wonder as they learn about each new animal, see amazing machines like a fire truck or a helicopter.
Instead of rushing through life as if it is as mundane as the day before, slow down & open your eyes to the world your kids see. Let their own joy at a new discovery like a wriggling worm in the dirt after a rainshower spark a discovery of your own. Being a parent is an excuse to get down on your hands & knees in the mud & enjoy it. We all dream of being kids again, don’t we? So don't waste the chance, because it'll pass you by fast.
Adults look at the word passion as something that takes too much time & effort to really pursue. However, for a child, passion is everything. It is what drives them, it is what shapes them, & it is what helps them mature into stronger, independent beings.
When our kids are little, everything is a big deal to them. They differ from us in the fact that they don’t fall victim to melancholy, they haven't learned to anticipate disappointment, & "time management" means nothing to them.
Passion in children is a beautiful thing, so encourage them to pursue it. Join them in their interests, let them educate you on the new things they have learned & have come to care about. Pay attention to what gets them excited, & let it take you back to a time when everything was worth throwing your heart into as well. In return, let them see some of your passions. Do you both love to paint? Celebrate that together! Sharing hobbies as parent & child is so important when they are young, & the time goes fast before they are off on their own, growing better & better each day.
One of the things that will stay with your kids for years, even after moving out & beginning families of their own, is the traditions that were held sacred in your own home. Many kids are creatures of habit & routine, & will treasure the traditions that seem so meaningless to you after years of repetition.
Honour these routines together, & let yourself feel happy at what an impact they make on your kids. Remember when you were young, doing the same things your children now do out of habit? It's a great feeling, & one that they will also carry into their families in the future.
Creating new traditions together that are led by your children is also an amazing way to share the joy of parenting. Give them the chance to create habits around the holidays, such as the flavour of cookie you leave out for Santa or the reindeer food mix you sprinkle in the snow. Allowing them a little control of the narrative is a joy to the both of you, & one that will stick with you through the ages!
What is one thing that adults lack, yet seems so prominent in the minds of children? Imagination.
The desire to create, to play, to have a limitless world of possibilities. As adults, we forget what it was like to dream such wild fantasies, sometimes ones that meant so much to us, it shaped our personalities through the years. When I was younger, I had three imaginary friends that were there for me through thick & thin. I truly believe they helped me become a better friend when I got older & got closer with real humans.
These little things like imaginary friends & grand schemes of imagination pass us by as adults, but if you look closely & take the time to listen, you can experience joy in the worlds your children create. Taking the time to slow down & play, just like the good old days, will bring you joy & comfort during hard times.
Children have the biggest minds, so encourage them & let your own tired soul find some creativity to contribute. No child will any of your pipe dreams too impossible, so be yourself with them & let your imagination run wild with them!