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Can Being a Parent Make You Enlightened?

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At least 12 years ago, a friend of mine told me that your spiritual growth stops when you have children. I would say that is 100% inaccurate.

The other day, I was coming in from the ocean after surfing and I had this brief glance of the universe/consciousness/God. Whatever you want to call it. It was sunset and the water was delicious. I kept diving under the water, just to soak up the last few rays of sun. Those last few moments of being alone in the ocean and feeling the cool water against my face and of it rushing through my hair.

My husband was home watching the kids. In a few minutes, I would be home, racing to cook dinner for starving mouths all while negotiating trips to the toilets, tending to boo boos, and wiping up tears. I looked at the sky one more time, while I half floated on my board and felt the water surrounding my body. It was so beautiful… but so was the scene at home I was about to enter!

I had this brief thought how, really, there wasn’t any difference to my solitary moment of  floating in the ocean as opposed to wiping a kid’s butt. Ok, I know it sounds crazy, but honestly, that’s what I was thinking. In that moment, I remembered that all of these events in our lives, we either classify as pleasant or unpleasant. But really, ‘who‘ is the person who is thinking these moments are good or bad. I mean, who am I anyway? (Way to bake your noodle, just in case you thought I was writing a light and easy post) How long can you go on watching a sunset and keep saying,”Wow, how beautiful!” Or, how long can you go on cleaning poo and saying “OMG! This is so gross!

Good or bad, these moments are all part of my life. To cherish one and not the other probably means that I would be missing out on more than half of my life. Wishing away the ‘not so fun’ parts so that I can get on with the ‘fun‘ parts. But, what if I just accepted all of the moments in my life, without labeling them good or bad. Of course, cooking dinner with screaming kids under your feet isn’t really ‘bad‘, but you get what I’m saying, right? You can’t have day without night. You can’t have cold without warm. You can’t have good moments without the not-so-good moments. So, why not just be a witness to them all… without judging those moments or classifying them as good or bad. Nose wiping, mess cleaning, smiles, laughter, cuts and scrapes, tantrums, fighting, cuddles, resistance, poo, etc… it’s all part of the journey.

Can being a parent really make you enlightened? Does it give you the power to transcend all the little ups and downs in life and to see them all as just one thing: as life?  Maybe. It’s not the only way. There are lots of ways to come to this realization of life. But for some reason, having kids has helped to show me this, and I think I’m not alone. I know for sure that children are always living in the present moment. One second they’re crying and the next moment they’re laughing. To be around such an energy gives you the opportunity over and over again to be reminded that life is really indescribably profound! So, next time I find myself really hating something about being a parent… I’ll see if I can call back on the time I was floating in the ocean and was reminded that ALL of the moments on this journey are special. The good and the bad.

(I’m not writing this as a license to say you should stay in bad situations, abusive relationships, etc. if something is really bad, change it or remove yourself from the situation or get some professional help!)

6 Responses »

  1. Nice post. Fully agree that there is nothing good or bad (with due respect to your ps note about really wrong situations). I too believe, raising children lets you live each second of your life coz a child is bringing something new every second. Life is not routine anymore and u learn to rejoice more number of times a day on all silly achievements e.g. Catching all poos in pot. With kids, every day is different from yesterday.

  2. I totally understand what you mean, Kate! We have to nurture our children in order to continue the human race, and really, why would we go through the process of pregnancy etc only to detest the resulting life we live? Yes, I acknowledge my feelings of frustration and anger on those not-so-good days when I am alone with screaming children, but our house is filled with laughter and excited chatter more often than it is with tears. That is the beauty of children. They find joy in the simplest things, and in turn they remind us to do the same.

    Oh, and butt-wiping is a constant source of amusement for us… as is the ever-present and often very loud flatulence, accompanied with giggles!

    • Ah, butt wiping, it is perpetual, isn’t it?! I feel like the children are our greatest teachers! Who else can we be around that is so in the moment? We would have to travel across the planet to find enlightened gurus or something. But here, all we have to do is hang around our kids 🙂

  3. Yes I totally agree that having children makes you more enlightened. It has definitely done so for me and over time I have realised that there is only really ‘now’ so I try to make the best of every moment.


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