Reviving the Wonder of Parenting

By: Maggie Reigh

“I don’t get it," sighed one exasperated parent. “Sometimes I wonder where the wonder went in this game of parenting! I mean, I was so excited to be a new mom, so full of enthusiasm, love and dreams about life and living. I felt so blessed… But countless sleepless nights, mountains of diapers, endless power struggles and discipline hassles have dampened my enthusiasm – not just for parenting, but for life. I feel like I’ve lost my sense of me – of who I am in the midst of it all."

Sounds all too familiar? Have you let the roles, rules and obligations of parenthood take over and edge you out of your life? Have you become the family manager juggling schedules, organizing meals, and speaking to your family the way you swore you never would?

Parenting is one demanding job – who would have ever signed up for it if they’d realized all the fine details in the job description: “Must be able to work 24/7 - feeding children, cleaning messes, washing laundry, dishes and cat litters, buying clothing, groceries, and numerous other essentials (must use own funds of course – and be prepared to spend at least $100,000 per child over the span of this job which has absolutely no retirement options or policy and never ends). Successful applicant will also have a never ending source of energy to attend school gatherings and sports events, and to play with children and spouse, as required!"  

Yep, there’s no doubt about it – parenting is a tough job and it can wear away at one’s very core.  And what was it that attracted us to this situation in the first place?  Oh yeah, joy! Love! Delight! Anyone ever feel hood-winked into this job? I remember “before children" visiting my brother, wife and family.  I arrived early one morning and stole downstairs before the children were even awake… and there they were, all four of them sleeping in their parents’ king size bed.  (I have no idea where Mom and Dad slept, but little did I understand such matters then.)  Oh! They looked so cute!  How adorable! Old Mother Nature yanked at my heart strings, “I want one of those!"

And so I had my own.  And there were many moments of pure joy and unbelievable depths of love that surged through me. And I wouldn’t trade my children or the experience of parenting for anything in the world.  But it wasn’t easy and there were times that I felt buried in the demands and pressures and forgot to focus on the gifts my children had to offer.

Grateful am I for the gentle reminders they provided me with from time to time – reminders that joy, delight, love, enthusiasm, and present moment honesty are the real reasons for living.

I remember my three year old son delightfully delivering a wake up call to me one fine morning. We were walking home after taking my oldest to school…

“Come on, Mom, run!  It’s fun!"

I looked at my three year old at the bottom of the hill smiling up at me, and thought, “There is no bloody way I am running down that hill! I’ll break my neck."  So instead, I carefully manoeuvred my way down the embankment, lumbering slowly along until I caught up to where he was carefully examining his new-found caterpillar friend.

“Don’t you like having fun?" asked Tyler as I knelt down beside him.

“Of course I like having fun," I replied, “I’m just not about to break my neck running down hills."

“I don’t break my neck," Tyler replied simply. “It’s fun."

Well, maybe breaking my neck is a slight exaggeration I thought to myself.  And when is the last time I ran just for the fun of it anyway? It seemed like a very long time ago and I vowed that the very next hill Tyler ran down, I would follow him.

I didn’t have to wait long before my resolution was tested.  Once again, Tyler ran laughing and giggling down to the bottom of the hill.  “Come on, Mom! Run! It’s fun!"

And so I did, and so it was!  It was fast and effortless. “When did I ever STOP running?"  I asked myself. 

And then I remembered.  It was that Canada fitness program in grade 5.  Somehow, try as I might, I could not pass the basic standard time for running around those barrels.  I must have run that test ten times, but to no avail.  Even though I had scored well in every other event, when it came time to determine the “medal" we would receive, I shall never forget my humiliation as the teacher called me up to receive the “red participation badge."  My feet dragged as I hauled myself past my classmates down the long isle to receive my “reward."  My face burned as I felt their snickers and silent jeering as they dangled their gold, silver, and bronze medals in front of them, and I resolved quietly to myself that running was definitely not for me.

Ever since that day I had gone out of my way to avoid running.  Funny how I had become so wrapped up in past hurts, so busy in my serious adult life, and so worried about future scrapes and bruises that I had denied myself the simple pleasures of life.

With the encouragement of my three-year-old son, I remembered the sheer joy and delight of effortless movement, and even today I rarely miss the opportunity to run- providing it’s downhill, of course!

Running downhill may not be your reminder of joy, but your child will provide you countless opportunities to jump in, let go of your need to manage, arrange, and schedule life, and simply be here now

Young children are masters of living in the moment, and joy only lives in this moment.  As Eckhart Tolle reminds us in his marvellous book, The Power of Now, if we stay right here, in this moment, there really are no problems.  Our problems exist only in the “anxiety gap," which Tolle describes as the gap between where we are right now and where our mind has gone to, mulling over events of the past or fearfully anticipating those in the future.

Next time you find yourself buried in diapers or discipline hassles, STOP...  Relax, and bring your attention to the moment.  Drop your resistance, and accept and embrace the moment you are in fully.  Let go of your agenda, if only for a few minutes, and be here right now.

Join your child in her play. Become curious about her. Allow curiosity to open the door to joy. Who is this child, really, and what makes her tick? And what about you? What’s going on inside of you? What brings you delight? If you find your own judgements and inner self talk interfering with your enjoyment of your child and of this moment, try replacing those judgements with curiosity.

Try to see life through your child’s eyes.  Let her remind you what play is really all about.  Dip into the magic of the moment.

Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to look at life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle."  With curiosity as your guide, let your child remind you of the miracle of life, right here in this moment. Children can help you to revive not only the wonder of parenting but the wonder of life!

Maggie Reigh is an international speaker, published story teller and author of the book and program 9 Ways to Bring out the BEST in You & Your Child. Maggie has helped thousands to live more harmonious and meaningful relationships.  Her presentations and seminars guarantee inspiration, involvementArticle Search, and life changing tools. For more parenting tips and to sign up for Maggie’s free newsletter visit www.maggiereigh.com  email: maggiereigh@gmail.com   ? Maggie Reigh 2006 

Parenting
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