By Rehmat Kharal
Do you remember the day you found out you were about to become a parent? It was a pretty exciting day, right? You were so happy, all you could think about was holding your baby, you and baby going for a walk, playing at the park, her cutest clothes and hair ties or buying baby his first baseball glove. It was an amazing feeling, wasn’t it?
Now, take a moment and think about what it means to you to be a parent today. Screaming, yelling, breaking up fights, timeouts, sleepless nights, ten-minute showers—sound familiar?
So whatever happened to all the energy, excitement, love and passion you once felt about parenthood?
How often do you find yourself playing with and enjoying your child? Be honest…playing while folding laundry, opening the bills or while preparing dinner doesn’t count! How often do you take the time to really talk to your child? That means putting everything on hold, sitting down and making eye contact and really listening to what your child has to say. It doesn’t matter if you have a two-year-old or a 15-year-old. All children have to be heard and they all have something important to say, but how often are we really listening?
We often forget that children are little people. Everything you and I want out of life, our children want the same. They have feelings, desires, wants and needs too. Seems pretty logical, right? Then why is it that we so easily forget? Do we enjoy waking up at dawn and going to work, only to return home for a 20-minute break, grab a snack and then run off to soccer, eventually come home, do homework, take a bath and go to sleep only to live the same hectic day tomorrow? No. So why are we subjecting our children to this lifestyle?
It really doesn’t do anyone any good. is is essentially where all of our energy, passion and love for parenting has disappeared to. We have become robots walking around trying to be parents.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty; what does it mean to renew your vows to parenthood? It means to find yourself again. It means to start reassessing and reevaluating what really matters in life. Having time to read your child a book before bedtime or taking an afternoon to draw with chalk on the driveway with your child. It means scheduling in some “me” time every week so that you can connect with the you that you were before you became a parent. is is crucial in succeeding in life, in attaining true contentment with yourself. I realize that we have all heard this time and time again, but if you are truly happy with yourself, both your outer self and inner self will reflect that in how you parent.
Remember parenting is not about the here and now of your child; it is really about shaping your child’s future. It is from you that your child learns self-respect, self- esteem, family traditions and family values. So if you place yourself and your needs first by treating yourself with respect and dignity, chances are that your child will place a higher value on themselves.
You need to learn to parent without guilt. You need to learn to parent as you would like to have been parented.
Rehmat Kharal is a freelance writer and the mother of three girls.