Before I was a parent, I felt like all I heard were the horror stories about having kids.
“Say goodbye to alone time.”
“Travel now, because you won’t get the chance once you have kids.”
And the dreaded: “You’ll NEVER. sleep. again.”
To a woman in her twenties who liked alone time and traveling, and very much so loved her sleep, being a parent sounded like the pits. I heard moms around me swap war stories about how they rarely got a shower, they only leave the house for grocery store and Target runs, and they were up 37 times the night before with their toddler. It all seemed so terrible.
So when we had our daughter, we prepared for the worst. But much to our surprise, we found out there was a whole lot of good mixed in with the not-so-good. And the good is great. I mean, like really, really great. Like powerful enough to lift you up and carry you through the tough times great.
Perhaps it’s human nature that we tend to commiserate about the negative aspects of parenthood. I’ve read many a blog post about the frustrations of caring for littles, the drudgery of the routine, and the weariness it all produces. Is there some truth in all that? I’d be lying if I said no.
Yes, it can be challenging.
And yet, it is so. COMPLETELY. exhilarating.
Maybe you could’ve told my pre-parent-self how all the once-ordinary parts of my day can suddenly be so joy-filled, and maybe it still wouldn’t have hit me. A little more than 16 months into this parenting gig, I’ve come to realize you can’t understand most of it until you’re there. Or maybe parents keep all this good stuff to themselves like the perks of being in some exclusive club. But now I know. The secret’s out. And I can’t stop myself from sharing my thoughts on what it is about having kids that is so mind-blowingly awesome.
Here’s my 23 reasons of why it’s the best:
- The thrill of (repeatedly) counting 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes.
- Drinking in the intoxicatingly sweet scent of milk on your newborn’s breath.
- How you get so excited for them to wake.
- How you could stare at them forever when they sleep.
- The silky smooth wonderfulness of baby skin.
- The magic of watching them discover something new. How you find yourself holding your breath as you observe each brave attempt, and how your insides burst when they succeed. I mean, they should give out Olympic medals for rolling over, right?
- FOOTIE PAJAMAS.
- How they look like perfect angels when they dream.
- Giggles are your new buzz. You’ll do just about anything for them. Crazy faces. Pants on your head. Tooty sounds. All dignity goes out the window.
- How you get to relive the best moments of your childhood through their eyes. Christmas. Dogs. Large empty boxes. Snow.
- Wobbly baby steps.
- Snuggles during story time.
- Finding Little People in your purse. Or blocks in your bathroom. Or puzzle pieces under the table. It’s like a little trail of breadcrumbs pointing back to their delightful presence.
- Hearing them say your name for the first time and mean it.
- Dance parties.
- That distinct clean baby smell.
- The twinkle in their eyes and the crinkle of their nose when they smile.
- The reward you feel when you’ve soothed them.
- The honor of providing complete care for another human life.
- Baby talk. Best conversations I’ve ever had.
- The serenity of drowsiness. The fierce sucking of the paci, the tap of the blanket to the nose, and the soft stroking of their favorite stuffed animal.
- When they choose to do right.
- And finally, one of the absolute best things about being a parent to these little miracles: the humbling privilege of watching them daily develop into the people God planned them to be. It’s breath-taking and overwhelming and beautiful. There’s truly nothing like it.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above …” (James 1:17)