I’m watching my kids grow up. Sometimes it feels they have changed over night. Become taller, with a changed shape of their bodies. Suddenly they are not the silly kids but more like goofy teenager or pre-teen. I often wonder where has the time gone. How did we get from breastfeeding to that deep voice in a blink of an eye.
And while I sit here wondering about how fast the time between now and them moving out will pass by I think about parenting. About the changes we have already been through. About the sleepless nights and the many “I wish it would be over finally” thoughts. I think about the moments I felt like I gave up on something, on a part of me for being a parent. If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about.
I think about the many coffees that got cold, the showers I wanted to take in peace, all the moments I went to the bathroom hoping to have a bit of quiet time only to have one or both of the kids barge in. I think abut all the moments feeling like you are no longer in control of your life but they are. I think about the times I felt my identity was lost, feeling like I was “just a mom”, not my own person any longer. I think about all the moments I felt guilty. Guilty for not playing with them while I was cleaning the house, guilty for not cleaning because I was playing with them. Guilty for being strict and guilty for not being strict. I could go on and on about feeling guilty but it would take over this post…I sit here and think about the thoughts of “what have I given up” but there is one thought that overwrites it: “What have I gained!”
When you are stuck in those difficult moments, sleep deprived, in desperate need of a shower by yourself it’s hard to see what you gain. But then there is so so much. And isn’t parenting about gain and giving?
I figured I share a post about this with you once again as a Blast From The Past. I hope you enjoy and as always wondering what your thoughts are…
It’s been a long time since being me was a real thing. Sometimes I wonder if I actually only just recently discovered what being me really means. I’m actually pretty sure that’s the case.
And still, sometimes I realize that my thoughts drift away, back to the time where I was just this young person. Where nothing else mattered but me and my thoughts. When there was nobody to look after, to take in consideration. I think back to the days where there were of course my parents and sibling and our pets. And, yes, they take up some space in your heart and thoughts. But not as much as your kids ever will.
I mentioned before that my daughter recently asked a couple of questions about dying and maybe that made me thing about how much feelings we invest in whom.
When I think back I always felt strongly for my parents. Of course you do. But it was a different kind of love than the one I feel for my children now. No surprise there… I think you will never ever experience a stronger feeling than the one you have for your children.
It’s true my love for my children is my greatest strength and also my biggest weakness. Because I love them I can push myself so much further, they make me able to do things I never thought I would be capable of doing. But they also make me vulnerable. They make me vulnerable or weak because their well being comes before everything else. Their safety is the most important thing in my life. Their future is what is the most important thing to me.
You realize you’re willing to give up everything for them. It’s when you automatically put yourself last because everything else would feel totally wrong. It’s when you don’t mind spending all your money on what they need or want and yet again putting yourself last.
I wonder if you would every do the same for your parents. And I wonder if your parents would ever want you to do the same for them.
See, I believe that it wouldn’t be the right thing. I would never want my children to give up everything for me. I would never want them to invest themselves as much in me as I’ve invested myself in them. It’s not right. Not in my opinion.
If you would make a drawing of family you would have two circles. One that is the family you grew up with and the other one is the family you create. Your family. It’s how I see it. Those circles of course overlap. They overlap with the two circles of your spouse as well.
Now picture yourself standing in the middle of those two circles. When you look back you look at the family you grew up with. When you look forward you look at your children.
I believe that’s the direction you should focus on. It’s the direction you should invest yourself in. Not backwards. Your responsibility is “in front” of you and not “behind you”. And I believe that we all kind of live by this idea. That’s why we do invest ourselves that much into making sure our children get what they need. That’s why we give ourselves up to a certain degree.It’s because we want to build them up. It’s about them.
When we are children we feel the strongest for our parents, they are the most important people in our life. If I would ask one of my children they would both tell me that they would give their lives to save me or their dad. It’s something that I definitely don’t want them to do. But then we are the people they love most. So guess puberty is also about that. It’s also about finding that distance, making that room for someone else to come in , someone you will eventually truly be ready to give your life for. Maybe puberty is about letting go. Maybe it is the first step of truly letting go, of detaching yourself just that tiny little bit, taking that first step towards the circle that one day might be in front of you.
If you would have asked who I would give my life for when I was a child, I would have said my parents. Without hesitation. If you would ask me today if I would give my life for my parents I would say no. I only have one life to give and I want to be able to give it to my children, no matter how old they are and not “waste” it on my parents.
I’m aware it sounds very harsh, but honestly, it’s what I would want to hear from my children one day.I don’t want my children to give themselves up for me. Do I want them to care for me, to love me? Of course I do, but giving themselves up? No! It’s too high of a price to pay for them.
I realize that we owe a lot to our parents. They’ve been there for us, they raised us, they looked after us and they gave themselves up for us. Just the way we do it for our children. And understandably that can make you feel like you owe them. Especially realizing what it’s actually all about. Knowing what this gig called parenting is all about. But do you really owe your parents?
When you give yourself up it should be to create a difference. It should be for something that changes something, it should be for something that creates something new. It should be for the future, not the past. I believe that all we actually owe our parents is to invest ourselves the fullest in our children. Do do everything we can to provide them with the right tools, with the right values and with a good life to start off.
We all know that everything we think we give up is not a sacrifice. It’s actually a win in the end…