Parenthood. No one said it would be easy, right? But no one really said it would be so hard either. I mean, it goes without saying that being a parent is hard. It's not something you can really fathom until you are living it.
When you have a child, suddenly your needs are secondary. There are some things that are really, really difficult. We do it anyway because we are parents.
My almost 2 year old has been having a rough time over the past few months when I leave her home with my husband or with a babysitter. And by "rough time", I mean bouts of crying and screaming until I return home to find her covered in sweat. Sometimes it is not the entire time I am gone. Sometimes she is fine until she asks for me and realizes I am not here. Then all hell breaks lose. My heart drops when I pull up and see her or, even worse, hear her screaming. It takes me a few minutes to calm her down and I just feel terrible. I feel terrible that she is so sad when I am gone. I feel terrible that I want and need a break...so I leave and make her feel this way. I feel terrible that I selfishly wonder when I will ever get time away without her getting so upset. And if it's just a phase, I feel terrible that I wish the time away so she will outgrow it.
Maybe it's the guilt that is the hardest part. The guilt you feel as a parent can be overwhelming. Like...did I cause this when I stopped teaching and chose to have a home daycare? She has never been with another caregiver on a regular basis. Did I do a disservice to her by being her primary caregiver morning, noon, and night...all day, everyday? But I did it with my 4 year old and she is just fine. I don't know.
Then if I go back to teaching next year, as I am planning on doing, will that be even worse? Will she hate preschool? Should I wait another year or just go for it and stop putting off the inevitable? Financially it makes sense for me to go back to teaching next year. But not much makes perfect sense when you are a parent. There is always the doubt or the worry that you might not be making the best decision. It's the guilt again.
You just want to do right by your children...and you have to hope that you are.
People say that time flies and that I will miss all of this when my children are older. And you know what? I am sure that I will. I really believe that. But I will remember that it was hard. It's so worth it...but it is the hardest job that I will ever have. Knowing that another person's little life is in your hands and it's up to you to not screw it up...yep, that is a tough job. But again, we are parents so we do it.
We are parents so we count down the seconds until bedtime because we need a break, and then when the kids are sleeping we sit and watch them. We listen to them breath. We touch their warm little cheeks and can't believe how much we could love these little people.
We are parents so we wish and hope and pray for the best for our children.
We are parents so we worry every single day about our children. We have fears that we have never had before...fears that we could not imagine.
We are parents so we know what it is like to love instantly and unconditionally.
This parenting thing is some hard, hard work.
But no one said it would be easy.