I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you: a kind elderly woman stops you on the street to remark on how lovely your children are, and tells you should cherish every. single. moment. with them, because the time goes so fast. You flash forward to earlier this morning when you spent 37 minutes (and pretty much all your sanity) convincing your toddler to eat four blueberries, and then another 14 getting him to put on pants. Now not only do you have to feel badly about just how off the rails your morning went, but that you didn’t savor every single second of the madness.
Plus: Does Having Kids Make You Less Happy?
That’s why Glennon Melton’s essay Don’t Carpe Diem is showing up like crazy in my Facebook feed. I think it might be the truest thing I’ve ever read about parenting. Being a parent? Most moms and dads (including myself) will tell you it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Actual day-to-day parenting? Crazy-making. Here’s Melton’s metaphor for it:
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
Plus: Can a Happy Childhood Lead to an Unhappy Adulthood?
Read Melton’s essay, and then tell us what you think. Do you honestly enjoy every moment? Must you love parenting to love being a parent?