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Parenting Is Hard, but It Didn’t Make Me Miserable

Things seem to come in waves and batches on the Internet. The theme of this week (month?) is apparently how hard and miserable parenting is. I don’t know if it’s related to the fact that more kids have been home with their parents for the summer or what, but the message is everywhere I look. If I were the type that were more easily persuaded, I might actually start believing it myself. I mean, there have been honest to goodness research studies performed about all the terrible things that can happen after having a baby.

But here’s the thing. Parenting is hard. Especially little ones and teenage ones. But since when does hard translate to miserable? I’ve been through plenty of hard things in my life, and while some of them have straight-up sucked, many of those things have actually been pretty wonderful. Some at the time, and some down the road. Just because something’s hard doesn’t mean something is terrible and will suck all the happiness out of your life.

I get it. I have a strong-willed kiddo who’s last desire in the world is to sleep. He was plagued with chronic health difficulties from the beginning and life was very, very hard starting out. I’ve shed more than my fair share of tears since becoming a parent, but none of them equate to devastation and misery. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

I’ve had an emotionally difficult year including lots of change and transition and I easily could have slid down the slippery slope of depression and misery. But instead, when things are getting really bad, I look down at this crazy kid of mine who is constantly needing and wanting, and I feel nothing but peace and calm. The outside world may be a whirlwind of a tornado thrashing around me, but in that moment, I know that no matter how tough things are, in reality, everything is A-OK because of the little guy I have by my side.

I know I didn’t just get lucky to have a cool kid that I like; I know there are plenty of other parents out there that feel exactly the same way. Their voices may not be as loud as those that are shouting all the negative, misery-related things, but I promise people actually like their kids and parenting. (There would be a heck of a lot more only-child families if that weren’t the case.)

The thing is, nobody wants to read about how happy someone else’s kid makes them. That’s not “shareable” or viral or newsworthy. But what if it were? What if all the good about kids and parenting and family life were as contagious as the negative stories? Maybe more people would be able to embrace the happiness, appreciate the good, and see the rays of light in the midst of darkness.

I for one, as crazy as it may sound, attribute my kid to keeping me sane. For keeping other difficult life scenarios in perspective and for making me realize that things I think are terrible and horrible really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. There are days that are so hard that I worry I’d fall over the side of the cliff if I didn’t have such a strong 3-year-old anchor grounding me in place. Sometimes they’re parenting-related and sometimes they’re not, but no matter what, it’s the joy of being a parent that keeps me going.

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that same something can’t keep you moving forward.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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