Most of the time, it’s pretty inconvenient to be a parent.
You want to sleep in. But your kids wake up at an unforgiving hour. You need to make dinner. But your baby wants to be held and swayed and jostled just-so. You’d love to sit in Starbucks for an hour with a book in hand. But, if you did that, you would probably get kicked out because your 18-month-old would run through the cafe wildly.
Parenting is a high-sacrifice business. There are a lot of costs involved. Our kids don’t always do what we want them to do…which, I’ve come to understand, is a good thing.
Consider these common complaints [I hear them often]:
“She wakes up before the sun comes up!”
“He wants to be held all of the time!”
“She has such a strong will!”
“He just won’t obey – he always has to question everything!”
“She sleeps so lightly! If a pin drops in our house, she wakes up.”
“He won’t sit still! He is moving constantly!”
“She is so weary of strangers!”
“He won’t play by himself. He wants me all of the time!”
The truth is that almost all of those things are good, wonderful, beautiful, and important characteristics.
She wakes up early because she loves life and doesn’t want to miss a single thing! He wants to be held because he trusts you and your presence comforts him! She is constantly thinking about things and has an opinion! He is inquisitive and analytical and refuses to do things without reason! She will wake up if danger is near! He has tons of energy and likes to be active! She knows the people in her life and has great intuition! He loves to be near you because you are his favorite person in the world!
You see? Most of the things we mark as inconvenient are good – very good. After all, would we really want our kids to be weak-willed, lazy, easily-led, unquestioning, deflated souls?
On the contrary! I yearn for my kids to be brave, strong, daring, active, and thoughtful leaders! I want them to be courageous enough to challenge the status quo, fast enough to outrun the scariest villain, smart enough to brainstorm possibilities, and bold enough to create change.
I try to remember these things in the “inconvenient” moments – when my baby takes an extra short nap (She is a lively little girl who doesn’t need as much sleep as the norm! Just think how many things she will be able to accomplish!) or when my 3-year-old wants to read the same book for the gazillionth time in a row (She is a little bookworm and is absorbing language at a neckbreaking pace!).
When I am at the park or in a group of parents and someone inevitably says, “He is so stubborn!” or “She keeps asking me ‘why’ a million times!” I almost always think to myself, “That’s wonderful!”
Reframing things from “inconvenient” to “incredible!” really helps me to keep perspective.
These are the days of life, of growth, and of wonder. These are the days of my children’s youth and I want to be mindful of the people that they are today – and the people that they are becoming.