This I Believe

Kathryn - Sherwood, Arkansas
Entered on July 30, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe parenting is a tough job. When you become a parent, it may not be apparent what all is involved. After all, there is no owner’s manual issued at your child’s birth. People have children all the time, so it can’t be too hard, right. Having a baby isn’t the same thing as being a parent. Being a parent is more–much more.

Being a parent is more than having a baby. Once you know you’re pregnant, your responsibility as a parent begins, so you must take care of yourself. You shouldn’t continue with any harmful habits that you have picked up along the way such as smoking, drinking alcohol, etc… People say “I’m eating for two,” but you don’t have carte blanche to eat everything in sight. I wish someone told me this when I was pregnant. Remember, you are now living for two.

Being a parent is more than being a babysitter. It’s more than just watching them until someone else comes home. We’re in it for the long haul. Changing a diaper or propping a bottle to feed them won’t cut it. Attending to a baby sets the stage for trust as well as emotional and mental development. It is a lifetime commitment, not a nighttime gig.

Being a parent is more than being a free taxi service. We must know more than where they are. We must know who is there, what is going on, and when it will be over. There are wackos out there wanting to harm our children. That may sound a little paranoid, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Being a parent is more than being a friend. I’ve met some parents who seem to think they are supposed to be their child’s friend. Let me emphatically dispel that idea. Doing whatever it takes so they like you is not only wrong, but also detrimental. There is no guarantee your child will like you, especially during the teen years. Sometimes, we have to make unpopular decisions to keep them safe. Safe from bad people, safe from harmful things, and sometimes–safe from themselves.

Being a parent is more than being a cook. Yes, we have to provide meals for our children. The important thing is to remember the choices we make for them early in life, will set the stage for our children’s eating habits for the rest of their lives. We must make healthy choices for our children. Healthy isn’t grabbing a hamburger and fries every night. My kids wouldn’t complain and it is convenient, but parenting has nothing to do with convenience.

Parenting is a tough job. We do our best and our children may go astray. I believe if we do a good job as a parent, they will have the tools they need to find their way back. I believe being a parent is more, much more than we could ever imagine.