6 Unexpected Joys of Parenting
Being a parent is one of the most challenging tasks you can undertake. It is also one of the most rewarding. You may believe that you know what you are getting yourself into when you give birth, adopt a child, or undergo assisted reproduction. The truth is that you cannot possibly anticipate the difficulties or the joys that await you. You'll find out about the difficulties in due course; this article will focus on the joys that will sustain you during the trying times and make them all worthwhile.
1. Reliving Childhood
Whether your child comes into your life through adoption agencies, via a surrogate, or the traditional way, you begin to see the world through his or her eyes early on. As your child learns about the world, you experience the same thrills vicariously. No matter how cynical or jaded you might be, your child's sense of wonder will affect you deeply, bringing you back to your own childhood in a way you didn't know was possible.
2. Becoming More Mature
While becoming a parent allows you to relive your childhood, it also forces you to assume adult responsibilities. You are now the grownup. You are in charge. Even if you have made other adult accomplishments, e.g., getting an education, starting a career, getting married, and/or buying a home, when you become a parent things get real. Having the responsibility for a helpless human life brings home to you that you are not just playing house.
3. Learning Your Capabilities
As a parent, you will meet with adversity. There will be real hardships, struggles, and heartbreaks. You may worry about how you will deal with them and wonder if you are strong enough. As you navigate adversity, you will learn that you can do what you must do. You will discover what you are truly made of, finding reserves of courage, strength, and resiliency that you never knew existed until you had to draw on them.
4. Growing Closer to Your Spouse
It is important to note that having a baby is not a cure for marital problems. If there are underlying issues, becoming a parent may exacerbate them rather than improving them. With that said, if your relationship is healthy at baseline, the love and devotion that you and your spouse have for your children can help bring you closer together than you ever thought possible. You know that there is one person in the world to whom you can always brag about how wonderful your children are because you know that he or she feels the same way.
5. Taking Pride in Their Accomplishments
Everything that your children achieve is a partial victory for you. After all, as a parent, you are the one who helped and encouraged them, giving them a boost of confidence at just the right moment. While it can be gratifying for a child to follow in your footsteps, it can be an even bigger thrill when your child accomplishes something that you could never possibly achieve. Therefore, allow your children to follow their own paths rather than trying to push them in a direction that they do not want to go.
6. Learning New Things
Sharing an interest with your child is wonderful, but perhaps even more exciting and rewarding is learning things that you didn't know before from them. By encouraging and involving yourself with your child's interests, you expand your own horizon. It's not only concrete facts or skills that you learn from your offspring. Children are not carbon copies of their parents. They have their own temperament and unique worldview that can provide you with a new perspective on life.
The reality of becoming a parent is much different than what you imagine it to be. The challenges will be much greater than you expect, but the joys will also be much more profound. No one can describe exactly what it will be like for you; it is something that you need to experience for yourself.