Parenting is rewarding, so goes the expression anyway. The phrase “parenting is rewarding” is peppered throughout conversations between parents and non-parents. Locating the rewarding part of parenting, however, is more elusive than the cliché makes it sound. In fact, unbeknownst to many new parents, parenting is the exact opposite of rewarding. At times it seems valueless, unproductive, and troublesome. Finding the fruitfulness of parenting is reserved exclusively for those who can ignore the stress, the mess, the agony, and the seemingly intentional suffering that your newborn is sure to exact upon you. The next time someone tells you how rewarding parenting is, stab them in the neck…then read this post for their eulogy. The jury will see your side.
Parenting is rewarding if your sole purpose in life is to clean up after another life form. There is little controversy regarding this in the parenting community, yet it scarcely gets any attention. Let’s make it known that living with an infant is tantamount to living with a puppy with an overactive bladder and penchant for calamity. For those of you who have followed your bliss into janitorial work, geriatric care, or housekeeping, you’ll experience nary a difference between caring for a baby and doing your normal, day-to-day job. Lucky for some that their happiness is based on cleaning up after others. These people are probably best suited to understand the rewarding nature of parenting right from the get go.
Parenting is rewarding if one of your favorite pastimes is rescuing stray animals from impossible situations. We have all seen the videos of the kid who saves a basket of puppies from drowning. Or the girl who rescues a squirrel from oncoming traffic. These are heroic acts indeed. Infants are everywhere. It is truly amazing that a creature with the same basic mobility as a drunk guy with Down’s Syndrome trying to break dance can be as mind-blowingly quick and elusive as they are. Infants get themselves in impossible positions if they are not being watched constantly. It is now a daily practice in my household of saving my son from being eternally trapped between two stationary objects. I’ve begun to think that he truly seeks to wedge himself in new places just to test my level of dedication to saving his life. He’s become trusting very quickly. My wife would never place such a burden in my hands, as she knows from experience that I’m selectively heroic and poorly coordinated in pressure situations.
Parenting is rewarding if you hate money. Now before you freak out and click elsewhere on the interweb where you’re sure to find advice more befitting of your elitist ways, hear me out. If you hate money, then having a child might just be the right decision for you. I’m not referring to an indifference to money or a mere dislike of currency, but if you truly despise wealth with every fiber of your being, than perhaps having a baby is the best choice for your lifestyle. If you fit this mold, rest assured that a new baby will not only help you realize your dream of being a penniless, live-in housekeeper, but it will basically ensure that you’ll never have to worry about having a surplus of cash anytime soon, probably ever. The irony of a baby is in that they care nothing of money and wealth yet are the nucleus from which yours will evaporate instantaneously.
It is for all these reasons that the old cliché holds true. Parenting is rewarding on so many levels and for so many reasons. You’ll find the rewards everywhere you turn. Just step over the pool of vomit, around the puddle of urine, climb over your Everest of credit card debt and hospital bills, and there you’ll find your precious little baby…probably stuck between the wall and the washing machine. So cute.