Being a parent, just like in marriage, is a continual exercise in learning how to be selfless.
Being a parent is:
Giving up more than half your bed so your scared little man can join you at 3 a.m. Of course this also means getting no sleep and still getting up the next morning to get everyone ready to go for the day.
Making pancakes and taking all the messed up ones that everyone else said looked “weird.” You know the ones I’m talking about. You tried to flip them and they just didn’t flip right so they look like a big wrinkled mess of a pancake. Could be that I’m completely alone on this one. Maybe ya’ll know how to flip the perfect pancake every time. I always have one-two batches that don’t turn out.
Playing a game of hide and seek instead of perusing facebook. I know, we really need to find out what our old high school buddies are cooking for dinner tonight or go through the 200 photos our cousin posted of their recent trip to the beach but…our kids matter more. And that time with them will not exist anymore at some point.
Giving up my stake on the extra’s available at dinner so that my child (who finally decided they “liked” a meal) can have the seconds they are asking for. Hey, any time I can get my kids to say, ”Wow this is great! Can I have more?” I will gladly give up my portion.
Choosing to cuddle to a rousing episode of Good Luck Charlie instead of my ever growing pile of DVR’d detective shows I’d rather watch. The truth is, I actually like some of the shows my kids watch. And when we take the time to sit and watch with them we end up realizing its not that big a sacrifice. We actually need to be sitting down with them and watching with them so that we know what they are watching! The point isn’t what we’re watching anyway, its who we’re watching it with. This includes going to movies…I think the last 3 movies our family has gone to have been for the kids. And, let’s be honest – Frozen was awesome. I’d go see it again by myself. In fact, I may go see the Sing –a – Long version by myself just so I can belt out the tunes without embarrassing my children.
Being a parent doesn’t mean foregoing everything I love and everything I am. I don’t become a beat down version of myself at the beck and call of the littles I created. But I think that’s the misconception about selflessness. Being selfless doesn’t mean being a doormat. It doesn’t mean getting used. It means choosing to put others first, choosing to make others needs and wants more important than my own. It means loving someone enough to truly believe in your heart and show through your actions that you desire to give so they can get.
What a valuable lesson to learn for ourselves and teach to our children through example. It’s not easy every day. But the rewards (the smiles, the thank you’s, the cuddles) make it all worth it. And I’d give up all the bed space, sleep, perfect pancakes and TV watching in the world to create children who understand the value of giving to others.