Monday, April 11, 2011

The Hardest Thing I'll Ever Do

I remember when I was pregnant with my first son. Several people told me being a mother would be the hardest thing I will ever do. My husband was told that being a father would be the hardest thing he would ever be asked to do. As I was experiencing the fear and awe of caring for a newborn child it was obvious that yes, parenthood is hard.

Now, almost seven years later, parenthood is still hard, but in a different way. When my children were newborns the main goal was to keep them safe and alive. Now, it's not keeping them alive but helping them become the people that they are going to become. I'm raising two growing young men. I want them to be good people. I want them to appreciate what they are given. I want them to be respectful of their father and I and their teachers. I want them to eat well and do well in school and say thank you. I want them to understand that I can't always say yes but not getting your way all of the time isn't the end of the world (or a good reason to cry). I want them to have a strong sense of right and wrong and to understand what it feels like to work hard to achieve a personal goal.

I wish I knew the right way to balance the need for Owen to be successful in school with the absurdity of giving first graders homework. I want the boys to eat their vegetables but don't know how much I should push them - am I causing more harm than good? I want them to be able to enjoy their childhood but think that they should pick up their toys and help around the house.

I suppose my point is that the struggles of parenthood probably never end. Maybe this is something that other people have already figured out, but it's just hitting me now. Now I don't have to worry about sleep schedules and bottle feeding. Now I have to worry about the boys tackling each other and hurting themselves. I have to worry about Owen learning his spelling words and brushing his teeth. It's hard, just a different kind of hard.

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