It Never Stops!

I totally get it. I completely understand what they mean.

Parenting NEVER stops!

I remember flipping channels a number of years ago and stumbling across the original movie version of “Parenthood” with Steve Martin. This was even before I had kids of my own.

I remember a scene in which Steve Martin’s character and his father, portrayed by Jason Robards, were having a conversation about the various challenges of being parents. While I expected Steve Martin’s character to have a pile of challenges with his young kids, Jason Robard’s character acknowledged that even when you are old with children who are full adults with kids of their own, a parent can never stop being a parent.

It is so true.

Anyone who thinks that parenting comes to an end once our kids are out of diapers or are able to eat on their own and go to sleep without waking up during the middle of the night, are sniffing way too much airplane glue!

As a father to a 14 year old daughter, I am amazed at the behavior of some of her supposed “friends”. The utter disregard for other people’s feelings, a false sense of reality that sometimes comes with living in a privileged environment or a cavalier way of living life. In actual fact, I have to wonder where the parents are in these children’s upbringing? Do they think that parenting ends when their kids hit high school?

It NEVER stops!

I often think about my kid’s future. I think about post-secondary pursuits, the quality and calibre of their friends, their ability to land meaningful and well-paying positions after their schooling is complete. I wonder if they will find the right person who will completely love them and respect them. I wonder if they will be successful in finding an affordable and decent place to live, I worry about them raising healthy and well-adjusted children. I think about their own mental health and well being. These are all future worries…not even remotely on the horizon.

I don’t freak out about these thoughts. My worry doesn’t overcome me with fear and paralysis…but its there, lurking beneath the surface.

I know my parents think the same things about me. I know they worry about me. I know they worry about my health, well being, overall happiness, financial abundance, blah, blah, blah. And I am 46!!

It NEVER stops!

Parenting is a lifelong commitment; a full time gig. It is not always rosy and perfect. It is probably the hardest job anyone will ever take on. It pays no salary whatsoever..in fact, financially, it costs big time! It sometimes can keep you up at night, it can frustrate you, anger you and even sometimes make you cry when you are overwhelmed.

Often your parenting efforts go unappreciated. In the business world, effort and hard work leads to financial reward and accolades from business colleagues. Not so much in parenting. Our children, by and large, really don’t appreciate our efforts and commitment because they almost feel that we, as parents, are obliged to provide this love and support to them…no questions asked.

They are right. We children didn’t ask to be brought into this world…our parents decided to create us out of love (I would like to think) and to perpetuate their own image, creating a legacy. We show up and expect to be taken care of … forever. The way our parents take care of us as we grow up and become adults shifts but through it all, they, as our parents, are always supposed to have our backs.

It NEVER stops!

Its a 24/7 job. There are no days off. Even when you go on vacation from your children (well, maybe one day!), their well-being and safety are always in the backs of our minds. Some parents never leave their young children, almost becoming trapped by them. Others are more fearless and believe it is necessary to take breaks from their children for their own mental wellness.

Regardless, our kids are our responsibility…even when they are not kids.

Anyone who believes they can live a life like the one they had before kids came into the picture are seriously mistaken. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You can’t raise them to a certain level and then let them go figure out the rest on their own. Sacrifice is a part of parenting. If you still want to be selfish and live a life that is all about you, do not have children.

It NEVER stops!

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About I'm Just A Dad

Stephen Gosewich is just a Dad (he is a former Enlightened Male but decided to change the name because when you search Enlightened Male, "other...wink, wink" are displayed. He spends his days during the week as a working stiff. At all other times, he just enjoys hanging out with his best friend and wife and their two very active and inspiring daughters.
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