(As shared on Decoding Your Child Facebook post on 9 March 2019.)
Many years ago, after a few years of being a stay-at-mom, I had felt my self-worth diminish.
There I was a university graduate w a good Honours degree, previously doing an amazing job, discussing about high level intellectual stuff, but now reduced to being a cow constantly nursing a baby, constantly dealing with toddler tantrums and constantly changing diapers and cleaning up my 2 little ones.
And having a husband who is a man of few words meant I ended up having conversations with MYSELF. Sadly, my most “intellectual” conversation with myself on a daily basis was to debate the healthiest meal I could make in the shortest possible time given what I had in the fridge and pantry.
I was, to be honest, feeling rather sorry for myself. But I had put on a brave front for my family, for my kids. For several years, I felt unaccomplished as I watched my peers rise up the organisational hierarchy and my sister’s business grow from strength to strength. No, I wasn’t jealous, but I had felt a little defeated. I had felt I wasn’t maximising my potential.
Yet I wouldn’t change what I chose to do (be a stay-at-home mom) for anything because I really wanted to be the one who raise my own kids.
I shared that with my sister one day when we met and she had told me that what I was doing was extremely important. That I shouldn’t measure my success with that of others’. She had told me, “Perhaps the greatest work you do is in the adults you raise in your family.”
That was a HUGE inspiration to me. While I had always wanted to be a good parent, I was now fired up to be the best parent and bring up my children who will make a positive impact on earth and who would help many people.
So to all you stay-at-home parents, be heartened that the work you do is extremely important. You literally leave a legacy with the work you do in parenting.
And to working parents, my absolute salute to your dedication to not take the easy way out. The fact you are following and reading Decoding Your Child shows you are working on parenting your children positively. And trust me, it’s harder to parent positively than to parent using fear and pain. You having to balance that with the stress you feel working is no mean feat. So should you stumble, it’s ok! Just pick yourself up, and try again, and again, and again.
Sure, some days are extremely hard, and they never seem to end, but they will. All the investment of time, energy and emotion to parent your child(ren) lovingly WILL YIELD adults who are kind, loving, empathetic, and most importantly, resilient. They will have higher self esteem and will persevere through difficulties as you have. THEY will become the adults who will thrive and who will have the heart to help others.
I don’t really know what kind of impact my children will have in the future, but I am really happy with the way they have turned out thus far. I am comforted that my years of effort have been yielding sweet fruits for me and my family all these years.
When the going gets tough, just remember that muscles grow when they are stretched. So we are ALL growing. Yes, I am constantly being stretched too!!