“It’s a thankless job“, said the elderly lady in the shopping center. She sat on a bench licking an ice cream cone while my kids ate some sushi roles next to her. She peeked at my 2 month old son, sleeping in the baby carrier, and complimented me on how well behaived my kids were acting.
I smiled back at her.
‘Thankless‘ I thought… what is she talking about?! I feel like I could do this shit forever!
There certainly are days when I wish the time away. But right now, I’m so in the thick of it, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.
The good times make it easy for parenting to be a ‘thankless job‘. But, I also don’t mind too much wiping up messes, listening to cries, feeding mouths, cooking like it’s Groundhog’s Day, tackling Mt. Foldmore (not that I really fold my laundry anyway), picking someone up who needs to be carried, getting in the car and out of the car 800 times a week (if I had a dollar for every minute I spent waiting outside the car for a four year old to organise themselves, I would honstly be a millionaire). I mean, I could easily do without the challenging parts of parenting, but for now, I don’t mind them so much, it’s part of the package.
Children spend their lives so much in the present moment, it’s sort of contagious. I don’t find myself counting on my fingers the numbers of years left of hard work to be done, I just do it. And, most of the time, I do it with a half smile/borderline mad woman smirk on my face.
I realised that I don’t find myself wishing for ‘freedom‘. I’ve had that sort of ‘freedom‘ and I know that even living the most carefree life, in a tropical paradise, you can still make yourself miserable and stressed!
One thing that makes the thankless bits easier is that I take my self care seriously. Daily showers are a must (don’t laugh… unless you forget what it’s like to have your first newborn). Yoga and meditation every day, also a must. Exercise and getting out of the house for paid work occasionally is important for me. Staying at home is hard work, and it just happens to be unpaid.
Once every year or so, I do a silent meditation retreat to really get my energy back to par. I take my self care seriously so that I don’t burn out doing the mundane stuff that would otherwise be the end of me (dishes, wiping butts, etc). So, it’s not like I’m doing all this ‘thankless‘ stuff on an empty cup!
Maybe, one day, when I’m as old as the lady in the shopping centre, I’ll look around at all the young mothers and say that you couldn’t pay me to go back to those days… maybe… but for now, I’m doing it 100%, no regrets and no feelings that this will get boring any time soon.