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Remember to Find the Joy in Parenting

There’s so much to unpack in this one that I hope it doesn't turn into a confused mess! I’ll do my best to stay on course.

 

As I write my weekly blog, my goal is to highlight areas of struggle for parents and caregivers and attempt to provide support, and possible solutions to make their journey a bit smoother.

 

When I look back at my past blogs, I can see that some could be considered a bit “heavy.” 

 

Well, that’s because parenting sometimes gets a bit heavy, and we don’t always have someone to share that heaviness with. When you see that someone else is also navigating the “heaviness” as well, it can be a source of comfort, and if I can provide some comfort, I have done my part.

 

In pondering the heaviness, I began to look at other avenues for how parents share their thoughts and journey.

 

Most were through quotes, memes, TikTok videos, and rambling “wits end” posts.


What I found, with the exception of a few, was that many of these expressions were of frustration, annoyance, irritation, and on some level, disgust, anger, or loneliness.

 

I know a lot of these are playing it for laughs, stress relief, or sympathy, and I get it. I love a good laugh or vent too, but I always wonder what’s really behind it.

 

I too share many quotes, graphics, and the occasional video, but most are not to vent my frustrations, they are to support those that are frustrated.

 

That’s a choice for me, to stay on the positive side of the parenting journey and that’s what got me thinking about sharing the message of remembering to also spread the word about continuing to find the joy in parenting every day as our kids get older.

 

Remember when we thought about becoming parents? There were so many hopes and dreams, anticipation, and excitement about who these little people would be, and how much fun we would have with them? 

 

Yes, it was the hormones because no one ever fantasizes about all the sleep they are not going to get, the vomit they will have to wipe off, the fear they will live with about not doing everything right, and the constant pressure they will put on themselves to mold those squishy little things into good, kind, fully functioning humans.

 

What I think about most is how younger, new parents, will see and hear these expressions of sarcasm and think, “Shit, I’m not doing this. That sounds like a huge drag,” when they are only seeing a small part of the story.

 

Additionally, I think about how other current parents are seeing and hearing these messages as well and starting to buy into them, you know like a “Let’s pick up the pitchforks and complain” mentality.

 

So, it made me think, let's stop and remember to find the joy in parenting.


There is some left.


And, I had to remind myself of it recently.

 

Dealing with middle school behaviors these last two years after being fully immersed in the elementary school years and those behaviors threw things a little out of whack for a time.

 

Now it’s my son’s hormones that had me rethinking the whole parenting deal and I felt myself starting to slip into the grip of always looking on the negative side of things.

 

  • Fighting requests for this or that.

  • Pushing for more compliance at home and at school.

  • Shooting down push back on-screen time and lights out limits.

 

Geez, we went from tantrums and asking for too many cookies to the silent treatment and Snapchat overload in the blink of an eye!

 

It seemed like every day, every task, and every conversation was becoming a struggle.

 

All things change.

 

People change, situations change, thoughts change.

 

That’s all it was, change.

 

So I had to remember,...

 

I could choose to focus on the times when we butt heads over something or when my patience was short, or I could choose to remember the times we…

 

  • Played really competitive games of Jenga and Connect4.

  • Went on bike rides together.

  • Talked and laughed in the morning when he slipped into the bed to snuggle.

  • Laughed uncontrollably at really corny jokes from his joke books.

  • Made art together.

  • Had long conversations on car rides.

  • Sat on the couch and watched the whole first season of “Wednesday” on Netflix.

  • Enjoyed a good sushi dinner.

  • Celebrated a win in soccer, or

  • We just hugged.

 

These are the memories of joy that I bank and withdraw daily. These are the ones where we were being genuinely and authentically ourselves. A reflection of the truth of what this really is, two humans, figuring it out along the way, and preparing for more joys to come.

 

As these now not-so-squishy humans grow and evolve, they will make mistakes, push limits and boundaries, and otherwise get on our nerves. But we as parents need to always hold on to the knowledge that this is how it’s done. This is how they become who they are going to be and there will be future joys for us to look forward to like academic and life accomplishments or perhaps becoming parents themselves.

 

When the days get long, frustrating, annoying, or irritating, stop and withdraw one of those memories of joy out of the bank, because there is joy in parenting, and maybe stopping to remember this will lead to “lighter” days for more parents.

 

Take care and be well,

Courtney

 


A mother and her son at breakfast.
They say the days are long but the years are short in parenting. Don't forget the joy.

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