Parenting as a test of character

Parenting is hard. I remember when I became parent, I was exhausted. Night after night of waking up to feed, change, and put my angel to sleep; day after day, the same routine–plus all the housework. Months, then a year of this–and then a second child arrived. I remember thinking: I gave my mom a hard time as a teenager, but nobody told me about THIS! I also remember thinking: I wish I was not so tired so I might enjoy my babies!

And as my babies grew, and I could sleep at night, other challenges came along: Temper tantrums; making sure they eat their vegetables; teaching them to waiti to get my attention; cooperating with Dad to make discipline consistent. And listening to a lot of crying, then complaining–and later, criticism.

What helped me through it all was my clear vision of my goal: I wanted strong and independent, but loving and connected, children. And every time I felt I wanted to take some “easy way out”–I thought about that: What will they say about this 20 years from now? What will they think of me? It was not about trying to buy their love, but it was about wanting to be appreciated and respected. I wanted my children to know I was strong, that I know what I want–and so can they.

I am glad to report it all worked out just as I had planned–and hoped. And it can for you, too.

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