Since I was a little girl my desire was to have children. I understood the steps that would get me to that goal, but it was not until after becoming a mother that I learned that there was more to it than bringing a child into the home.
After bringing home my first child, I learned to juggle my time. I had to give up some leisure activities in order to make sure everyone’s — especially my child’s — needs were being met. As my husband and I brought home more and more children (four total to be exact), the juggling act became more challenging and it was hard to find any time for the leisure activities I previously enjoyed.
Seth Adam Smith wrote an article titled, Marriage Isn’t For You. He talked about not being selfish in your marriage, rather focusing on ensuring the happiness of your spouse. How true that is in parenting also! Reflecting on the day-to-day life of a parent, it is constantly filled with thoughts and actions for one’s partner and kids.
The sacrifices we give
The Cambridge Dictionary (2013) defines sacrifice as, "To give up something that is valuable to you in order to help another person.” Dishes and clothes are washed, meals are made and bills are paid for everyone’s comfort. Children are taken to school and parents help the children with their homework afterwards. What do parents do for themselves? They take a few minutes to shower and get rested up to prepare for the cycle to start again.
As a parent every moment is focused on the child as you ensure that his needs are being met. Money tends to focus more on the child and what he needs rather than what you want, the daily scheduled is centered around the child and ensuring he is cared for and extra time is spent on activities the child would enjoy.
The lessons we gain
Parenthood is not just about what we do for our children but what we teach them. Parenting does not allow for selfishness but rather allows one to learn to be unselfish and learn a deeper sense of love and parents give their time and money to sacrifice for the children in their home.
The sacrifices we are to give our children, in order to ensure their physical and emotional well-being, vary from person to person as well as situation to situation. For example, one who has a physically ill, or disabled, child is required to sacrifice more than a parent who has healthy children.
Parenting is not just about giving up our money, time, etc. for our children, it is also about seeing that they are happy, learn the values that we teach them and are successful — not just career wise but in several areas in their lives.
The more you sacrifice, the happier you feel as a deeper sense of love is felt inside of you. A love that only parenthood can teach you. Parenthood is a sacrifice that is well worth it.
Laura da Silva is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor. She is on the board of the Utah Association of Play Therapy. Her Mental Health Practice is located in Sandy, Utah. Website: www.dasilvacounselin