I love the old adage, “I didn’t say it wasn’t going to be hard, I said it was going to be worth it.” I don’t know who first said that, but they were a genius. I think it perfectly describes parenting, and really, life in general. The hardest things to do are usually the most worthwhile things in life.
As an example, parenting a small child is often extremely challenging. Long hours, no pay, etc. etc. but it is always worth being there when your little person looks up at you and smiles, or holds your hand, or falls asleep on your chest. That is what makes it worthwhile. Last night, I was up most of the night because my daughter had a bad dream. She needed me to lay beside her while she slept, meaning I got very little rest because she is a VERY active sleeper, and obviously, if I left the monsters came back. Well, all that was made worth it because I woke up from my few minutes of precious sleep, after finally escaping her room at 4:00 am, to her patting my cheek and kissing my forehead. Worth it. Worth every minute of it. And every minute of today, when I am dragging my behind at work.
My husband and I have been together for 6 years. Not long to some, an eternity to others. Our daughter was born in 2010, and is an amazing blessing. As she is almost two now, thoughts and conversations have recently turned to a second child. Do we want one? Can we afford one? Is it a good time for us? Is there ever a good time? Do we have the energy to parent an infant and a toddler? And an opinionated and headstrong toddler at that. I look at our daughter and think about how I have changed because of her. I am sure that I would change again if we were to have another child. Am I ready for that? Did I lose myself? No. But am most definitely not the same person I was two years ago. Not that anyone really is the same two years down the road, but my life has changed dramatically. Diapers and bottles and binkies will do that to a person. I wonder if I am worn down from the effort I put into making sure my daughter has all she needs and more. I wonder if I could put the same amount of effort into a second child.
But, in the end, I know that my husband and I would put in all that effort because there would be a day when we would know that everything, no matter how difficult, would be worth it. I would take another long labour, and any amount of spit up and poop that comes my way to have my baby say he or she loves me. To know that I am so big and strong that I scare away the monsters. To get that big GIANT hug that only a little person can give you. No matter the changes parenting makes to my life I will always know that while it may be hard, it is definitely worth it.
Kristie de Jong is a working mom who enjoys spending her “spare” time with her family and friends. Her addiction to shoes has rubbed off on her daughter, and together they will spend all afternoon trying on every pair in the closet. Kristie loves to relax in her back yard and enjoy the local scenery.