Remind Yourself of the Joy

Being a parent is a joy and a priviledge. This bears repeating because it can be easily forgotten. If you aren't careful your kids will grow up in the blink of an eye. And you'll miss it.

Everynight before bed while my wife reads our older two stories I get to put our youngest to sleep in her room. It's a pleasure most nights. I get the opportunity to read stories, cuddle, and sing lullabyes until she is ready to lie down. It gives me pleasure just thinking about it. I wish I could bottle it and consume the contents when I'm much, much older.

And yet despite, or in spite of, the joy of parenting we can often surround ourselves with distractions. Work, media consumption, and our personal interests can often lure us away from 'living' with our young ones.

I'm as guilty as anyone. Some days I just want to watch a movie. You know, without pausing it so many times I lose track of the plot. Or I want to vege out on the internet, have a shower, whatever. I get frustrated by a minute's delay, a 'chase and gather' before the nightly bath, a spilled cup at dinner.

I catch myself at times and feel the nasty hot surge of guilt. It can be looking up from my phone to the sound of my girls' laughter at the park. After yelling at my child for drawing on the wall. Or when I hand over my youngest to my wife at 2am in frustration after the fourth wakeup that night.

I suppose it's normal. Stress can build, bad days occaisionally accompany the good, and we can lose sight of what is really important.

Just remember to remind yourself of the joy. Often. Because they will be grown too soon.

EDIT: In a delicious irony, after writing the final words to this article, I found my girls had cut up the gauze on our deck door. I could only shake my head and smile.


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