The Joy of Parenting

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are often billed as days for children to “pay back” parents for all they do for them all year. Parents forgo personal desires for them, devote themselves to them, and struggle for them. Some parents see Mother’s and Father’s Day as a reimbursement for all the sacrifices and struggles. While mothers and fathers certainly deserve love and attention, the term “payback” makes parenting sound like a chore rather than a joy. I like to think of it differently.

For me, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are opportunities to sit back for a moment and reflect on the wonders of family. Instead of rushing around, we have the opportunity to observe the love that surrounds us. On such days, we indulge in the luxury of watching our family. We watch our toddler share their blanket, or their cookie, or their toy; in other words, we watch them share their heart. We watch our teen struggle to say, “I love you” with a card. Whether that card is funny, near silent with so few words, or two pages of heart-felt words that are not said on any other day, we watch them learn to share their heart and expose their vulnerability to others. We watch our adult children navigate the world of including their significant other into their family while they also navigate how to become a part of someone else’s family.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are opportunities to celebrate our successes – the times we parented with poise and grace, the times we said and did just the “right” thing, the times we were able to provide just the right amount of support. It is also a time to celebrate our less successful days – the times we yelled, the times we hurt their feelings, the times we said all the wrong things, the times we provided the wrong support (too much, too little, the wrong kind). These are, after all, the times they had to learn that they could stand on their own and figure out the world on their own, and survive the curveballs that life would throw at them. These are the times we taught them the power of forgiveness and the continuity of love. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are days to celebrate our strengths and weaknesses as people, as sons and daughters, moms and dads, as siblings, and as members of our family.

They are days to express our gratitude to those who have shared their love with us. I am grateful to my mom for showing me how to be strong on the outside when inside I may want to cry. That is something that has been so helpful to me professionally and personally. I am grateful to my dad for showing me that I deserve to be treated like a princess – like a person who is confident, respected, loved, listened to, admired, and fun to be around. I am grateful to my husband for helping to create a family bound together by love, respect, fun, and mutual support. I am grateful to my “mom friends” who shared growing up with me (our children’s growth and our own). I am grateful to my children for helping me see that parenting is not a chore; it is a joy.

I wish you all a day of reflection. Happy parenting!

  • ~”Parenting is a journey that takes us from total responsibility for another person to the development of a responsible person” Diane Urban, PhD ~

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12 thoughts on “The Joy of Parenting

  1. I feel like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are forms of marketing.Big companies target of the consumer with forms of advertising. These holidays are just ways of scamming us. We should always praise our parents. We should thank them for raising us because every parent has different struggles. I believe being a parent is something remarkable because it is one thing to give birth to a child that is another thing to give birth to a child and raise them to your fullest potential. Many parents have to work long nights just to provide food for the children they break their back’s and never complain because they love the child. On the other hand some children unfortunately the place of parents that are not fit to care for them. This neglect can later affect the child’s stability and personality in the future. It maybe difficult to form relationships and to care for themselves. I believe parents should care for the children unconditionally and help them become better people in the future.

    1. In my opinion parents are a big part of most people’s lives. Being able to have a special day for your mother/father is a way to express your love towards them and show them how much you appreciate them. It’s a moment you can show you can truly show your mother or father how important they are. Parents do so so so much for their children and don’t always get a thank you. Parents are there for you since the day your born and will see you as their little baby even if your 70 years old because they are our care givers and work for their children for a very long time until they can take care of themselves. So one day out of the year to have a day for them to say thank you and to celebrate is a great day. Some people see it as a form of marketing but in my opinion you don’t necessarily need to purchase something to celebrate mother’s day or father’s day . A hug and a “i love you” can mean so much to a parent or a letter letting them know how much everything they do means to you. Of course we should always appreciate our parents for all the hard work they do through out our lives,but having a day devoted to them can mean so much more then words can explain.

  2. The Joy of Parenting was a joy to read. The article explains how children use Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to “ payback” their parents. This makes parenting sound like a chore, although it should not be seen like that. The article explains the importance of mother’s and father’s and most importantly family. The author is saying when we celebrate these holidays they should not be seen or felt as a duty but more as a joy. These holidays give us the chance to come together and fix our relationship with each other; the author remarks how throughout time our relationship will break apart and corrode over time. I like how the author talks about the important family experiences she has gone through; this just helps us to understand her better. My favorite part about this article is how the author made Mother’s and Father’s Day more than a holiday. She made it sound like a joy. As a parent, I know the importance and responsibility of being a good mother. There is a lot of weight on your shoulders to take care of your children and teach them in the right way. Our parents taught us to be respectful toward others and be more open. They want us to talk about our mistakes and things that went wrong instead of hiding them. As humans we have dreams, and these dreams should be realized, so fight for them no matter what age you are, young or old.

  3. I agree with you that Mothers and Fathers day is a day of reflection with your family. But, I think they should also have a son and daughter day. Reason is because it is a lot of work being a child. A day when a child could feel appreciated could be a great day for them. Sometimes kids may not feel a special bond with their parents. Maybe the parents may be only worried about making sure their kid is perfect but not worried about their feelings and etc. Otherwise, I am always thankful for my parents guiding me in life.

  4. Kayla wrote: “I found your post interesting. I do agree some parents feel “parenting is a chore” which I believe it is not. I believe parenting is hard work no matter if you are a parent or not. I am not a parent, but I can say I am sometimes. The times I have taken care and loved my cousins like they were my kids. The times I ran as fast as I could with alert and anxiety running through my veins when they were crying. I also own a Chihuahua dog and I named her Linda, she is smaller than average and I raised her from 2 months to now two years and a few months. I am a proud dog lover parentJ. I care and show affection to my dog as if it were my baby. I call her my little baby and I give her nicknames like “my little stinky stinky” and just like you spoke in class today may 31st, 2017 about how parents or relatives give odd nicknames that sound good to a baby, but really is something to be like “what! Why you call me that.” A friend of mine use to call my dog “cara de nargeta” (Spanish) which means “butt face” and for months I didn’t even know what he was saying I just thought it was cute and funny. He said it so quickly and he said it with love, months later I ask “what is ‘cara de nargeta’” and he tells me and I go “OMG! Why do you call her butt face” and we just laugh about it.

    I am not a literal parent, I did not carry a child in my womb, but I do feel like a parent because of how I care, treat, show love and affection to my little cousins and my little baby Linda”

  5. A student of mine wrote me this very beautiful thank you to his mother. He agreed to share it anonymously and I am grateful to him for sharing it: “Often times we forget the reason we are who we are. Sure it comes down to our choices, but it also heavily has to do with the way our parents influenced us. For me personally, I don’t think I show how grateful I really am. In fact if it was not for my mother I would not be back in school. I was actually on my way to the Navy. Had it not been for my mother’s fear and love for me these would be the months where I would be getting mentally prepared for that. I was at CUNY City College for Fall of 2016 and a couple weeks of Spring 2017 before I had a mental breakdown and decided I would join the armed forces. My mom insisted that I finish school at least for that semester. I tried to, but had returned early one school day and it was time my mom decided to get me help. She accidentally took me to the Behavioral Health Center in Valhalla where I had stayed for nearly a week. I was obviously very mad as anyone would be because I thought she was exaggerating the situation. It was only when I got out February 28th that I had realized that she had made a “good mistake.” I decided that I deserved to give myself second chance and just try a different school. That is how I had really made it into your class. I never gave my mom credit for that action. Yes, I had made the decision to go back to school, but had it not been for her action which she says at times says she regrets, I wouldn’t be where I am today. That is why this past Mother’s day I tried to make it the best one for her as I could. Money or time would not be the issue as I dedicated my time solely to her. But even that isn’t enough for the action she took in February that changed the outcome of my life. Anything that comes of me I believe will always be because of who my parents were, especially my mother. I hope I make her sacrifices and risks as a parent worth it all in the end”

  6. Parenting is hard. No matter how much joy, love and happiness you get from being a parent it is still hard. It depends of course what kind of parent you are. I believe that when you have a child you no longer live for yourself but for your children. Your wants and needs do not come first anymore. You are responsible for providing the best for another human life. That means a lot of sacrifices and doing things for someone else without actually getting or expecting something in return. Mothers and fathers do this 365 days a year without the marketing scheme of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. That one day is supposed to be a break. A break from working; a break from laundry, cooking, cleaning , helping with homework, etc. Of course, you do not expect something from your children so it is not a chore unless the child feels obligated or doesn’t want to do something. I think that spending quality time and just simply appreciating your parents for that one day a year is important.

  7. I don’t necessarily think that for kids to think of mothers and fathers day as payback is a bad thing or that it makes it seem like a chore for the parent to be a parent to say that it is. I believe it’s all about perspective, every day of your life from the moment your parents found out you were to be born to the day you die, you are their child. I say the day you die because even after our parents depart this world their lessons and actions over the course of our lives stay with us and continue to guide us. If you see it like that, whether it’s a chore, a pleasure, or somewhere in between, parents deserve a day or two now and again to show them that we remember all of those times you spoke of, the good and the bad, the yelling and the crying. Not only that we remember, mind you, but that we appreciate all of it.

    Even if your parents didn’t have a clue what they were doing and messed up regularly (because who doesn’t?), they were still there. Parents don’t get to take sick days or quit and move on to something else, as you can with just about anything else in life. They are there from beginning to end, and for that I believe they earn that one day a year and more for a little consideration of all they have done.

    For me personally, I believe just one day a year per parent isn’t enough. I like to get with my younger siblings and once in a while just do something for my mom, just because, on some random date that isn’t expected by anyone. This is how we show our appreciation because it has been earned from moment one of my existence to now, 28 years later and two more kids later, every day of our lives.

    And as for thinking you deserve a day of the year for yourself for being a kid(as someone else posted), you already have one! You have your birthday, and on that day your parents do something special for you or buy you gifts or maybe all of the above and then some. That’s your day when you’re a kid, and it’s enough to be certain. I say it’s enough because in reality, all of the days are your day, you’re being taken care of every day you are alive until you are grown and move out and even then it’s not really over. So enjoy your birthday as your day while you’re someone’s kid and not a parent, and maybe one day you will earn your own day like all of our parents did by becoming a parent and having a mothers day or fathers day for yourself.

    All of that being said, I truly enjoyed reading your take on Mothers Day and Fathers Day and I hope you enjoy my response.

  8. I completely agree that parenting shouldn’t be a chore; it should bring you happiness that you brought a human being into the world. For those who think parent is a chore,I feel like they really shouldn’t have one because I feel like they will tell themselves “why did I have a child” and to me, that isn’t right. I am not a parent (yet), but I did take care of my sister like she was my own and I can say that it was a great opportunity to learn how to take care of another human being. Now I know how to take care of my own child when I get older. I was eleven years old when my mom had her last child which happens to be my sister. Because my mom had to eventually go back to work, I had to take care of my sister at a very young age. I had made so many sacrifices as a growing adolescent but I don’t regret one single moment. It was very hard to balance school and taking care of a child. I got to experience the struggles of hands on parenting at the age of 11. It was difficult and I stressed over many things but in the end, my parents were so greatful that I helped them with my sister. I thank my mom for the sacrifices she made when she had my brother and I and now I know how hard it is to maintain a growing family. Don’t get me wrong, parenting isn’t easy and I have never met a person that said it was but in the end, it honestly brings you joy when you get to see them grow up. You are joyful to see your own flesh and blood grow up to be the person how you wanted them to be. You may see them do things that maybe you couldn’t do with your life. However, sometimes, children take their parents for granted. Some ask for so many material things that they really don’t need. They don’t realize the struggle and sacrifice that their parents had to go through and their children still treat them like crap. Mother’s day and Father’s day is unfortunately the one day where you ” pay back” your parents for all they did. But, did they sacrifice just one day? NO! They sacrificed many years of their lives to raise their offspring(s). I feel like everyday, children should say “thank you” to their parents to show them their appreciation for what they did.

  9. I decided to share this very nice comment from a student: “I decided to read this post because I hear so many different opinions of parenting from a variety of people describing it as laborious work. However this article is is a complete opposite opinion. I think this article helped me realize that being a parent may not be that bad, even though I am sure not hoping to have one any time soon! The articles explains how Mother’s Day and Father’s Day aren’t JUST about kids repaying their parents for their work, it sees these two days as days to be thankful for family and I happen to agree. I feel that it isn’t what you get as a gift for your parents, it’s about spending time with them. Even though there may be tough time with your parents, like the article said it’s really just part of being a family, a parent being mad doesn’t mean they love you any less. I’m trying to spend as much time with my parents as I can which isn’t much and we do get into arguments but I don’t let it carry on for longer than 20 minutes. I wished more parents who abuse kids could read this post by Dr. Urban because so many kids are abused or mistreated by adults everyday and it scars them for life. If this post could be posted in more places on the web, it may have an impact on a few parents and even children as well. I know that it reinforced my commitment towards having a good relationship with my parents”.

  10. I agree with you on this post because on Mother’s Day, my mom just wants the family to be around and enjoy one another’s company, but we do that by taking her out to her get her garden supplies, a nice dinner, and we come home and relax while watching any movie she wants. To me, I appreciate everything my mother does on a daily basis because she put me through middle school, high school, and now college, and I cannot be ever more grateful for her blessings. I feel every now and then, a parent should be given a present or a nice dinner to make them feel special and loved, even though you being around them makes them feel the same way.

  11. When I remember certain things that my mother went through just to be able to raise her children to be responsible individuals, then a days’ appreciation may not even be enough. I believe most parents go through similar situation so it should be a day when children spend quality time with their parents for them to feel they did not sacrifice in vain and that their efforts have been rewarded. It is also a day for children who may have wrong their parents to say I am sorry to them and then ask for forgiveness.

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