The Payoff

It’s not always easy to be a parent, and it’s really not always easy to try to be a good one…

  • At 3 a.m. when you have finally gotten to sleep and your child comes and wakes you because she’s had a nightmare (for the fifth time this week)…
  • When your four year-old has a meltdown at the state capitol and you have legislators from a dozen states giving you the skunk eye as you patiently sit and discuss the unfairness of life on the steps…
  • As your child goes through some stage that everybody has advice about and you patiently wait even longer for it to pass, having faith (almost completely) that eventually she’ll be able to pee alone or talk to strangers or sleep in her own room or whatever it is that is her personal quirk…

It’s super easy to be a great parent during the light of day when you’re well rested, everything is going perfectly and your kids are being fabulous.  That’s cake.

But the tough days and nights are where the payoff lies.

Those are the times when we don’t know if we really have it in us, but somehow we do, and later they come back to make it all worthwhile.

I am getting to that phase in life where I am gaining wisdom and wrinkles.  I’ve made it through phases that I thought would never end, to the point where now I almost forget that once they made me crazy.

I am lucky enough to still have little children but also lucky enough to have big ones.  Every day I see the payoff… the fears that have been resolved, the needs that have been filled and gone away, the phases that ran their course and the happy, healthy kids who have remained.

It’s sometimes bittersweet for me to have my little girls growing up so fast.  I’m not all together ready to be done with fairy wings and princess gowns.  Like it or not, I have preteens and am inches away from a full-fledged teenager.

But I am loving more and more the adventure of having big kids.

My daughters and I are taking part in some college courses given by international students at a local college.  Victoria and I are learning German, while Anna, Victoria and I are all learning Spanish.

There is something magical about sitting in a college class with my daughters on either side of me.

My once-shy Annalee, who hid behind my skirts when she was two, now is the first to answer some questions about how to conjugate a verb in a college Spanish class.

And Victoria, who changes on a minute by minute basis, has mostly decided that I am awfully fabulous to be around and wants me to come with her everywhere.  (Okay, sometimes I’m still absolutely terrible, but I’m happy to at least mostly rock!)

So I’m here to say hang in there… to those of you in the early years that try so hard to exhaust you, to those of you who have been plugging away with your good mama hats on and wonder if it matters at all, to those of you being told by all sides advice that goes against your heart… hang in there.

I’m not naive enough to think that the hard days are behind me.  Boy oh boy do I have a lot of crazy-making mama moments in store for me, I know.  But it is so nice to have come through enough to realize that I seem to be at least going in the right direction.

Here’s to the hard work of parenting, and to the little people we’ve created who are worth it.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
~Frederick Douglass

Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted.
~Garrison Keillor


Filed under the big stuff

9 responses to “The Payoff

  1. P.A.

    I rarely comment on blogs but thank you for this post. Thank you for all of your posts. You bring such a unique perspective to parenting, and it has made a difference for this mama. Thank you.

  2. a very exhausted mommy thanks you so much for this affectionate posting – I’ll print it and hang it out to keep me going when it’s the fifth night at 3 am… thank you!

  3. What an encouraging thing to post! Thank you. I used to read your articles when my little girl was 6 or 7 but somehow your site got lost in all my shuffling. She is now 10 years old. Well, I refound you and now you have a blog! Yay! Thanks again.

  4. Kez

    I’m glad Victoria has decided you’re not an evil mum again 🙂 (for now!)

  5. Beautifully written, Alicia!
    I especially identify with this, “I am getting to that phase in life where I am gaining wisdom and wrinkles. I’ve made it through phases that I thought would never end, to the point where now I almost forget that once they made me crazy.”
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy

    Thanks for this post. We’ve been through some ridiculous, frustrating issues this month and sometimes I wonder why we bother to do what do. This post sits perfectly with me. Thanks for taking the time to inspire those of us who need your inspiration. 🙂

  7. THANK YOU! My kids are 5,4,2 and 10 months and I have had one of those “I suck at being a mom”weeks. Numerous meltdowns, little sleep, allergy season and a hubby working overtime have made it a tough one. Thanks so much for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel!

  8. Izzy

    It always helps when other parents are honest about the less than thrilling moments of raising children, especially the ones that make you doubt yourself. It is appreciated and helped me alot.

  9. Pingback: The Payoff « Celebrate We Will: Orange Moon Moments and Other A-Team Happenings

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