I asked this question “What do you find most fulfilling about parenthood?” online and offline one day, and received some insightful responses:
- Seeing the kids grow healthily and happily.
- When he giggles and smiles, when he responds to me and learns new words from me, when he moves with the worship music playing at the background, when I see him sleep peacefully.
- I love the sense of bonding, being able to pour myself out for someone, and see my baby respond to me with smiles when contented. Even to see her count on me and call “mama” when she needs me, is comforting because it means she knows she can depend on me.
There’s nothing quite like parenthood that catapults you into another dimension. It changes everything, your perspective, the way you eat, change, and brush your teeth, the way you walk, talk, think…EVERYTHING. CHANGES.
Especially the way we see things.
It’s like we have a new pair of eyes. Suddenly, things around us become potential threats and dangers, people become potential helpers and baby-sitters, plans and decisions are now made with our children’s needs in mind.
New milestones are counted, and joy is found at every corner. When Javier learns a new trick or a new word. When Vera is able to control her emotions or give up her toys for her brother’s sake. All these are met with a certain sense of motherly satisfaction. Like giving myself a mental pat on the back.
Yet as the comments below show, it’s not just the healthy growth and development of our children that brings us fulfillment and joy. It’s also the change that we see in ourselves.
- Experiencing an incredible ability to love unconditionally.
- It’s fulfilling to see myself grow in patience and sacrificial love and know that I can live a life bigger than just meeting my own needs.
Bringing up a child is arguably the most formidable task of the 21st century. Bringing up a person-to-be, a future leader, someone’s future wife / husband. It is HUGE. It also comes with many challenges. Tantrums, manipulative tears, fighting (among siblings). There are days when everything goes wrong, when it’s your turn to cry and scream, and feel guilty afterwards.
Going through such trying moments necessarily entails some growing up on our part too. In the midst of learning to love even when we don’t feel like it, we are changed in the process. I’m now in my fourth year of parenthood, and I’ve only just realised this. Birthing a child doesn’t make us parents in the fullest sense. Bringing up a child does.
I am humbled, and a little scared, that I have been tasked with such a task. Knowing that I am the greatest influence on these little people, and probably their greatest role model too. Good habits and bad ones get learnt without me even noticing. (Never before have I been so conscious of my everyday language. Partly because the hubs gives me THE LOOK whenever I say something vaguely crass.)
Yet this giant task continues to grow. The responsibilities increase with each new developmental milestone, and the challenges too get newer and trickier.
As I look back, I see the bumpy road that we’ve been wandering on, I see the falls and bruises, the long way we’ve come. Like a baby, I learn the ropes of parenting. Like a toddler, I fall countless times. And like a child learning to persevere, I pick myself up and wobble along.
To answer the question, what I find most fulfilling about parenthood…is the growth that I see in myself and my children. Sure, mistakes will still be made, lessons learnt and re-learnt, and tears shed, but there’ll also be celebrations, success stories, and tales of grace and forgiveness. We feel the pain and sadness going through the difficult moments, but when we look back, I’m sure we’ll find that we have grown stronger, more loving and more forgiving, and ultimately a better person.
What a privilege it is to be a mum.
What do you find most fulfilling about parenthood?