Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees: The Rewards of Parenting
Some days I wake up and can’t believe I have to do it all again (is it really only Thursday?). The long days of mom life can feel repetitive and sometimes even tedious. Does any of it really matter? All the diapers, bedtime routines, kissed booboos, and Bluey marathons can make it so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood. All these long days and sleepless nights strung together in a seemingly endless, repetitive routine can make it so hard to see the rewards of parenting.
Motherhood is a daily grind–there’s no doubt about that. There are no days off and nights and weekends are no longer yours. But what you’re doing matters. With every diaper change, you’re showing your baby that you will take care of their physical needs. With every bedtime story, you’re letting your little one know that even though you’ll be apart for a few hours while they visit dreamland, they can count on you to be there when they wake up.These little things can seem insignificant, but they are puzzle pieces that, when put together, will someday evolve into a beautiful picture!
Last week, my daughter brought a poetry book home from school. She asked if she could read one of the poems to me; she thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it. As she read, I couldn’t help but marvel at the person standing in front of me.
As she read with fluency and passion, I was taken back to those early days of teaching her to say “mama.” I remembered teaching her to spell her name, spending hours reviewing ABC’s, and coaching her through reading her very first book. At the time, these things were just a part of my daily responsibilities as a mom, but as I stood there listening to the poem flowing through my child, I was struck by this full-circle moment.
I taught this child to speak. I taught her to read. I spent those hours listening to her painstakingly sounding out Dr. Seuss books and reviewing sight word flashcards. In the moment these things seemed nothing more than necessary, but now, years later, I was finally able to see the fruit of all that labor: my beautiful child standing in front of me, reciting a poem. A wave of realization washed over me as she finished reading, and dabbing at the corner of my eyes, I embraced her tightly. “I am so proud of you,” I whispered in her ear. And you know what else? I was proud of me, too.
All those puzzle pieces that I spent hours, days, months, and years assembling were beginning to reveal a beautiful picture.
We aren’t just changing diapers. We aren’t just teaching ABC’s. We are helping to shape unique and wonderful individuals, and the reward of seeing your parenting come to fruition will be so worth it! So in those days when you just can’t imagine slogging through another homework assignment and the thought of sitting in yet another carpool line seems to threaten your sanity, take a step back and try to remember not to miss the forest for the trees.