***WARNING*** The following is the rather lengthy ranting of an angry, unpopular and rambling lunatic. Proceed of your own free will and choice.
*ahem* So, there I was, watching “That 70’s Show.” I do like that show. That’s why I was watching it. In this particular episode, Eric made the assumption that Donna would one day become a stay-at-home mom, which bothered me. You don’t just make that assumption! And then Donna countered this assumption with the idea that *she* be the working parent, and Eric be a stay-at-home dad, which made me smile inside. You know, some guys are so loving, they’d be wonderful stay-at-home dads! What’s wrong with that?
But then at the end, Donna says along the lines of, “What if I don’t want to be a mom? What if I want to do something more meaningful?”
And that line just… really, really, *really* bothered me. Because this line perfectly sums up a belief that seems to be growing more and more popular as years go by, that raising children isn’t a meaningful, important job.
I don’t know what it is—maybe it’s the foot surgery or the stress of the year piling up on me, or both—but after years and years of hearing this crap from all over the place, I’ve finally had enough. I’ve been pushed over the edge! And I just have to say:
How is holding the future of tiny, innocent people in the palms of your hands, not meaningful?
What is more meaningful than creating a home that your children know they can go to and feel safe and secure and loved after being bullied at school for loving grasshoppers? How is it not meaningful to be the superhero to your child when they wake up from a nightmare, cradling them in your arms until they feel safe, and rocking them back to sleep? How is it not meaningful to have children that sneak into your room at night when they’re really, really scared because they feel safe there? How is it not meaningful to raise good adults that have the self-confidence to chase after their dreams? Who know they’re loved? Who spread kindness? Who make the world a little better all around them by making it suck a little less, just by being themselves?
What is more meaningful than that?
What is more meaningful than totally sacrificing your day, your time, hours of sleep, putting off a dream or two of your own, to instruct, inspire and guide and shape and just freaking *try* your *best* to *help* someone else? Someone completely helpless? Who is 100% at your mercy? Someone who looks up to you with wide and wondrous eyes, who thinks you’re the king or queen of the world?
What is more meaningful than throwing yourself out on a limb, taking a leap of faith—even though you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing—to try and give someone else a better life than what you had? What is more meaningful than being willing to apologize and try better tomorrow, to let someone else—a tiny someone else—know that their feelings and opinions matter?
What is more meaningful that trying to raise a healthy, happy human being, who makes the world better?
I think adults forget—children are *people.* They’re not a burden. They’re not an obligation. They look up to you! They adore you! Even if sometimes, in the midst of a fit of exhaustion, they say otherwise. At the end of the day, *you* are their whole world. And if you treat them like a burden, like you wished you’d done something more “meaningful” with your life, or make them feel like your career or phone are more important than they are, they will live with that insecurity for the rest of their lives, and there’s a chance that they may never get over it—just as any normal functioning human being would. Perpetuating the belief that being a parent isn’t meaningful and important will create generation after generation of bitter, insecure and depressed adults.
Because, just as Dr. Seuss said, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” And if you recognize parenthood for what it is, and change one person under your roof for the better, you’ve changed the world. You absolutely have! Because the home is where self-esteem starts. That is where people develop their inner voices. That is where courage and compassion are nourished. That is where children begin to learn the importance of lifting others where they stand.
Parenthood is freaking *hard.* You’ve got poopie diapers, markers on the walls and furniture, back-talking, and tantrums at the store and at Disneyland, moments where you cry because you’re just *so* exhausted, and you better believe that the world isn’t going to thank you for it. But as a stay-at-home mom, who chose this life because she wanted it and believed in it, I can promise you that when my son Dexter says, “You’re the best parents in the world,” that’s the biggest promotion possible on the planet, nothing can match it! When my oldest, Canon, tells me he wants to get up in front of a crowd of people to share his well-thought-out beliefs, there is no award I could win that could make me more proud. When my baby, Oliver, snuggles me at night and kisses me, there is nothing in the world that could make me feel more important.
The world won’t thank you, but there is no other job on Earth that is more important and meaningful than being a parent, and it ought to be treated as such.
If you want to make the world a better place, raise good kids.