Parenting is the easiest thing we ever have to be.
Don’t freak out, it is not that I think that parenting is not important, but I mean that it is part of who we are when we birth our babies. That first moment of looking into our child’s eyes and seeing yourself reflected as clear as an image in the smooth surface of a calm lake. Being a parent is part of our journey. I do not mean that we will be good parents necessarily, but rather that you are still a parent regardless of whether you are a positive or negative influence on your child’s life.
I came to this realisation when I was having a three dimensional ultrasound for bub number two and it was the first time I had seen a baby so clearly in utero. That cute button nose squashed up against the lens as if we were intruding on their space, their sense of being and it was almost as if they did not want us to see them. And yet, there I was with the sonographer peeking into the new life that was fast developing inside and my heart flipped. This is it, the moment of being that I knew I was being thrust into once again, and it did not matter whether I ate McDonalds every day or salad because I was still being a parent and my choices were having an impact on my baby’s life.
It is funny how we beat ourselves up about being good or bad parents and then we often reflect on our own experiences as children and the choices our parents made in measuring whether we are in turn making the right decisions. Just the other night I was reflecting on how much technology my son views and compared it to what I thought my parents had exposed us to as children. My mum sustains that television was only a small part of our routine while she was a stay at home parent and I honestly do not know how she managed. I find that even on the one day a week that I have my son on my own that I struggle to keep up with his energy and need to play that I end up resorting to the television as a way to keep sane. And honestly, I am lazy when it comes to play even though I enjoy it once I let myself become enchanted by its simplicity and joy.
We often judge ourselves harshly as parents, in the decisions that we make and the lines of action that we take. Yes, we make choices that inevitably affect our children and their chances in life, but the actual being a parent is just part of our new and inescapable identity. Someone will always be there calling you mum or dad, even if they don’t want to see you as having that role in their life, even if they are estranged and they will be naming you as such long after you pass this world.
Parenting is so easy to be that you enact it as if it is part of your breath. But it is how you choose to be that makes the difference.