Parenting Joy (pâr’ən-tĭng joi)
The intense and exultant happiness found in the rearing of a child or children
Those First Moments of Parenting Joy
Do you remember that moment when you held your child for the first time? That heady mix of elation and fear? The heart -swelling pride and throat-constricting emotion? The deep sense in which this is a life-affirming moment; the start of an epic journey.
In that moment, you are acutely aware of the privilege and blessing you have been afforded, and you swear quietly under your breath that you will do your utmost every single day for this most-precious of treasures. THAT is Parenting Joy.
Where does it go?
But somewhere along the way, life becomes routine. In the midst of smelly nappies, teething tots, and terrible tantrums, we become desensitized to this gift we have been given. We flounder in a hundred tough parenting decisions and the monotony of repeating the same instruction for the seventeenth time!
I don’t think you ever lose your Parenting Joy, but it can become obscured by the mundane, busyness of life. It is always there, because we love our children, but how often are we ‘exultant’ just at the thought of having them in our lives?
What is the answer?
There are hundreds of parenting experts and internet bloggers eager to sympathise with your child-rearing frustrations and tell you how to ‘fix’ their sleep patterns or behavioural issues. But I’d actually like to take a minute to conjure up some of that magic we all felt way back in the beginning.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to recapture some of that sparkle, stick it in your back pocket, and sprinkle it on ‘one of those days’. I think we all hold it, locked deep in our hearts, but it’s important, every now and then, to let those feelings rise to the surface, and to allow a bit of time for them to air.
Recapture the Parenting Joy
As parents, we all need a little boost so here is my list of things that make parenting AMAZING!
- When you get a proper arms-flung-round-your-neck cuddle
- When you get to walk along with a little, chubby hand squeezing yours
- When they’re feeling poorly and nobody else will do but you
- When they curl up on your lap for a story
- When the sight of a cow in a field is super exciting
- When their eyes light up because you bought CheeseStrings
- When they ask you to cuddle next to them on the sofa
- When they’re so engrossed in their pretend play that they’re oblivious to their surroundings
- When they conquer the big climbing frame at the park
- When they charge out of school and launch themselves at you
- When they pull a goofy face just to make you laugh
- When they can’t wait to show you the junk model they’ve created
- When they finally learn to ride their bike without stabilizers
- When they first say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
- When they see you’re upset and come over to check you’re OK
- When they yell at you from the top of the slide so that you can watch them come down
- When they fall asleep in your arms
- When they walk down the street holding hands with their siblings
- When they press a sticky sweet into your hand because they want to share
- When they paint a picture of you
- When they honestly believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy
- When they include the shy kid
- When it’s the first day of term and they look so smart in their school uniform
- When you have a lazy Saturday and the whole family is in your bed watching TV
- When they hand you a homemade card which says ‘I luf yew’
- When they’re feeling shy and just hide behind your legs
- When you tickle them and they can’t stop giggling
- When they get presented with an award at school
- When they squeal with delight at the present you bought them
- When they have all the same mannerisms as you
I’m sure you have your own reasons to add to the list (please post them in the comments section – I’d love to read them!). I’m not a parenting expert, I’m just a regular mummy. I didn’t want to write a post telling you how to parent, because what do I know?! I just wanted to encourage you in this exciting, exasperating, funny, frustrating journey that we are all on together, and rekindle a bit of your Parenting Joy.