Lately, I’ve seen a few articles circulating about parenting and the difficulties that come from rearing children. They all had me nodding along with laughter because, like any normal parent, we all commiserate with and understand what these fellow caregivers are going through. (You can find a couple of the links here and here, if interested.)
It’s no secret that children are difficult at times. We are dealing with this right now in our household. Our two-year-old is very willful, knowing exactly what she wants and at times has a hard time telling us with her words. She then uses emotional outbursts to get her point across. In my mind, this is not an acceptable behavior anymore. Brooklyn has always been good with words, talking (a lot) at a very young age so I know she is capable of communicating besides her favorite non-verbal way of thrashing around on the floor in a temper-tantrum. We are slowly making headway on getting her to talk through her issues and overall, we are happy with her progress.
Scarlett is currently ten months old and in the midst of teething. She has only sprouted two little
daggers teeth thus far, and a few more are trying to make their appearance. As with all children, teething means runny noses, lack of sleep (for both child and mother), and unusual crankiness. These past few days I have learned to function on very little sleep. Coffee is now my best friend (besides my husband – he’s been awesome.)
So, where am I going with this post besides turning you childless readers even further away from desiring to produce offspring? While there are so many “hardships” we go through to bring these children up, I want to shed light on the positives that come from these little mini-me’s also.
Below is a list of only a few wonderful things that my children have brought to my life:
1. Flowers galore. Brooklyn absolutely loves picking flowers for me. Be it a dandelion, cherry blossom that fell to the ground, tree branch, or straight-up weed, she loves picking them up and running them over to me. The look for my approval in her choice of gift is so sweet. I will never be in need of flowers again.
2. Learning to be selfless. When I got married, it took work to go from an independent individual to sharing my free time and space. (I’m not going to lie – there is one thing that I don’t part with freely: my food. Specifically, my desserts.) But, after giving birth to my daughters, I felt a shift. I no longer looked at life as to what I could expect in return. Middle of the night feedings? Okay. Definitely not getting that sleep back. Toddler wants a bite of mommy’s special dessert? I suppose so. Since you asked so nicely. I give and give some more, as do all parents, and I never once have thought, what are they going to give me in return? It’s called parenthood.
3. New vacation spots. I used to view vacations as a place where I could get the most relaxation, beach time, and sun. Basically, what everything our honeymoon destination was (Jamaica). Now, we search for kid-friendly vacation spots. Will there be an aquarium there? Great, put it at the top of our list! A kiddy pool? Awesome! Pack the swimmy diapers! A zoo? Our girls would love it! We’ll go there next. Case in point: our next mini-vacation. We have now gone to places I would never have thought of before having kids. It’s opened our world up and it’s been fun!
4. A new kind of love. I had always heard that having your own child would be a different kind of love than I ever experienced. And it is true. That first moment I laid my eyes on our daughters, my heart grew exponetially. Never before had I looked into the face of a person I helped make. It is an indescribable feeling and only something you will experience once you become a parent. Truly, it’s a miracle.
5. Help with workouts. More times than not, if I want to go out for a run, I need to take my girls with me. At first, pushing a double stroller seemed like a huge drag. It’s a lot heavier, slowed my pace down, and I needed to stop a lot more to open a snack or place the ear protection on the girls’ heads as a jet flew overhead. But, I have learned to love having them along with me. I have two little kiddos to talk with throughout my runs. I run a special route just for them to see a goat right outside the base gate, or head towards the area where Brooklyn’s favorite helicopter/airplanes are. And, another bonus: I’m now faster than I was pre-kids! I recently ran my fastest half marathon and I am convinced I’m stronger from pushing the double jogger.
6. Living like a kid again. I have a whole new appreciation for the little things. When we go for a walk outdoors, I get to view everything through the eyes of a toddler. Life is simpler, bigger, and much more fun. Never do I take the time to stop and look at a tree root or play with the dirt when I’m out by myself (what adult does?) but when I’m with my girls, life slows down and we get to experience these things together again.
7. Learn a new language. Actually two: baby talk and toddler speak. You will become fluent in these languages. What’s fun is only you and your young kids will know this particular language. And most days, when your husband is deployed, this is all you will use.
8. Social functions have grown exponentially. We have never been invited to as many birthday parties as we have since having kids. I might have never even met some of my current friends if it weren’t for a child’s birthday party that we happened to be at together. Playdates also have come in handy to get out of the house and become social. Yes, we may only talk about kid-related things such as runny noses, eating habits, or who is lacking the most sleep, but at least we are getting out, being social, and making friends. My fellow-mommy friends are some of my best friends now!
So there you have it. A small list of positives that can come from having children. I’m not in any way telling you to go ahead and have a child if you’re not ready. You definitely need to be prepared because they will change your life. But, your life will be for the better. The joys of having kids will outweigh the hardships. Many times over.