Posted on February 28, 2014by wendykarasin
This is Merriam-Webster’s definition of parenting: the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves: the things that parents do to raise a child. It is clear to me that Merriam-Webster never raised a child.The vague, amorphous statement: the things that parents do to raise a child, not only isn’t explanatory, it’s dismissive. In those nine words, Merriam-Webster is including: giving birth, buying every contraption known to humanity to get said child home safely, continuing to buy every contraption (God forbid baby should miss out on anything) such as books, toys, clothing, hair barrettes for girls (so people know she’s a girl because they don’t pick up on the pink outfits), and a Briss for boys which is another post entirely. This describes the first week of parenting.
My definition: The hardest, full-time position ever held by anyone. If you care about your offspring and dare to put your time and energies into a colossal swirl of happenings in which you don’t know what to do, what to say, or what the outcome will be over 50% of the time, welcome to parenthood. And here’s the clincher – you love the little beings with every part of yourself to a depth you never felt in your life. Their happiness sends waves of dopamine through your veins in fits of delight and their pain causes anguish the equivalent of arms being ripped off without anesthesia. I’m disappointed in Merriam-Webster. And I demand a re-definition as soon as she/he has a child and has experienced what the word parent means.
This parenting position is a strange mix: flying by the seat of one’s pants, spontaneous decision making, thoughtful decision making, head chef, housekeeper, chauffeur, arbiter, melt-down administrator (yours and theirs), launderer, CFO, CEO, social worker, EMT, fashion consultant, responsible party for shelter and physical/emotional/mental/spiritual health provider. Clearly our motives are not monetary. While our little ones do not generally bring in money, they are surprisingly adept at spending it. Before they can even speak. By the time they are speaking, they want Barbies, Ninja Turtles, little people cushioned rocking chairs, cell phones, x-boxes and cars. College, the motherload, is about to hit and we are (maybe) 18 years in. Nobody says it ends here. Nor would most parents want it to.
We parents are a strange, adventurous batch. We come onto the scene with unproven ideas and theories about life and child-rearing. Allow me to speak for myself when I say my children kicked my ideas and theories to the curb many a time. Because I am introspective, caring and respectful – I took the time to digest their words. The older they got, the more words they had, the more time I needed. I digest their words still and suspect they do the same with mine. My point is; parenting is complicated and complex. If anyone disagrees, do share. I’d be most interested in hearing from you.