It’s the challenging times I don’t enjoy so much – at least when I’m in them. The “I hate you” moments of parenting. The being ditched by a friend, the illnesses, the tears when skill sets don’t develop … these are the challenges.
Yet, I know I grow through the challenges of parenting as does my child.
Challenges help me grow my parenting skills. Knowing when to step in and when to leave space for my child to request support is a learning curve. They remind me that love is doing what is in someone’s best interest – not necessarily their desire.
Challenges help me grow appreciation for other moments. The heartbreak moments fade when I (and my child) focus on the heart warming and joy filled moments. Watching new parents reminds me of the wonder I felt watching my child sleep those first few days. (I still enjoy watching her sleep.)
Challenges help me grow in my understanding of myself. When my child responds to my words or actions (whether in a positive or a negative way) I see a reflection of myself in a way I don’t see it in others. I also witness milestones I have crossed and reflect on memories tied to them. They help me better understand my response to her.
There are times I am glad to being raising an only child. It allows me to stay focused on her. At other moments, I wish I could take what I have learned and apply it to a second child. Yet, in the next breath, I know that child would be unique and different in their experiences – challenges and joys – just as my siblings and I were all unique.
These reflections also assist me in better understanding my parents and their actions as I was growing up. With luck, it will assist me as they age in meeting their needs, being a better listener, appreciating the small things once again with them.
There are many challenges of parenting but in the end, my child is more than worth it.