Sunday, December 14, 2014

Parenting isn’t all about sacrifice

Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you've gained from having one ~Unknown

It’s Christmas time: the season that’s supposed to be about love, giving, and sacrifice.  

Yet, sometimes that season is muddled with stress, commercialism, and meltdowns.  And, I find it funny, that during this time that is supposed to be filled with joy, that by the time Christmas break rolls around, I feel a little lackluster. 

Being a parent is about giving.  You can’t just give a part of yourself to your children.  You have to jump in and give it your all.  It is a 24 hour a day job.  There aren’t any sick days.  

Giving it your all can be exhausting, and messy, and frustrating. 

When I’m really tired, I sometimes start thinking about what I have sacrificed in order to be a parent. 

You give your time.  Your money.  You give away your sleep.  And, sometimes you have to do things you don’t want like watch ‘Frozen’ for the 10th time.

It’s easy for me to get stuck in a pity party for myself.  Yet, then I remember that Jesus gave up everything for us on the cross, without getting anything in return. 

HE wasn’t given anything.  

When I think about it that way, I remind myself to focus on the positive.   

And, even though parenting is about sacrifice, I am given plenty in return.

What have I been given as a parent?

Morning cuddles.  

The gift of being more patient. 

Unexpected ‘I love you's’ whispered in my ear.

Effervescent laughter.

Tiny hands wrapped around my finger.

The way my toddler inches closer to me when he is scared.  

Reminders to be silly and carefree

Watching my children stand in wide-eyed wonder at rainbows, a butterfly and all the other little things.

Brutal honesty.  

Spontaneous hugs between my children.

The moments are unlimited.

Yes, being a parent is about giving...our love, our time, and our energy.   Likewise, selflessness is an important aspect of love….a love that gives but doesn’t expect things in return.  

And, I’m not talking about being a doormat, giving your children too many material things, or not teaching them to do things for themselves.   I’m also not saying that parents shouldn’t take time for themselves.  

I’m talking about giving them our undivided attention when they really need someone to listen. 

I’m talking about appreciating our children for their shortcomings, their idiosyncrasies and their ‘I tried my best.” 

No one said being a parent was easy.  And giving is a big part of the job description. 

But, isn’t it great when our children return our love, notice the little things we do, and let us into their world? 

I think so.

By being a parent, what have you been given?

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