Is Raising Children Similar to Helping Your Aging Parents? [Part 1 of 2]
Most people know that I am the mother of six children. However, most people don't know that I became a mother in every way womanly possible - vaginal birth, cesarean delivery, adoption, as well as children from a 2nd marriage. God has blessed me with boys and girls in every conceivable way except for delivery by stork!
Those of you that have children understand how difficult it is to raise them through all of the stages of life - infants, toddlers, elementary school age, teenagers, young adults, and even adults. Like you, I remember nursing babies through sleepless nights only to be pressed back into service for what seemed like endless diaper changes at the start of their young lives. The memory of a wailing child through ear infections and other illnesses is still spine shattering and saddening no matter how long ago it was.
I was certainly tired during my pregnancies, and I didn’t always make it to work. I was out even longer and lost even more income due to complications during my pregnancies. Then there was all of the time that I had to take off hauling sick children to doctor appointments and half days devoted to orthodontist or eye doctor appointments. Kids certainly hurt your career.
Then there were sports and activities – everything from dance class to football – that consumed evenings and entire weekends. After piling on laundry, cooking, and cleaning most parents are happy to simply find time to sleep. Busy, busy, busy. If you have kids then you can relate to the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a good parent. And, if you have raised teenagers then you also know the saint-like patience it takes to get them to adulthood. Parenthood is not for sissies!
As difficult as it was I know that everyone of us would do it all again. We are a little wiser now that we’re older and, as we look back, we recognize that being a Mom or a Dad was the best job we ever had. We were the lucky ones. We have a different perspective on life and, if you’re like me, you dream of holding your infant child one more time and know it still would not be enough.
Not once did any of us contemplate sending our babies to a “care facility” because they were incontinent and changing diapers was too much of a hassle. We may have briefly gripped about missing work or coming home early from a much needed night out with our spouse, but we made sure that our kids stayed healthy and got to baseball practice on time. Our teenagers made plenty of mistakes, frustrated us, and pushed our patience to the brink, but we stood by them and helped them grow into adults.