“I wish that y’all could be more like other parents! Y’all make me not want to have kids!”
Those were probably the harshest words that I have ever said to my parents. If I am being completely real, our parents’ shortcomings can make us not want to have children of our own lest they end up going through the unpleasant stuff that we have been through. I did not want to be an inflicter of pain and suffering upon my future children because of unresolved trauma and lack in various aspects.
I struggled with the thought that my life would never be as easy or smooth as my peers all because I was born to parents that often had to worry about the practical things in life while unintentionally projecting their deep-seated issues onto me. However, I soon realised that they were also just as troubled as I was because they were brought up by parents that faced a multitude of struggles of their own. The only difference was that, unlike the fact that my parents and I were communicative, they did not have the same kind of relationship dynamics with their parents.
As I begin to earnestly listen to my parents, my understanding of parenthood began to transform. My previously one-sided, narrow-minded, perspective on it grew to encompass other schools of thought that considered other aspects of what it means to be a parent. My parents’ parenting journey has never been free from immense scrutiny and harsh criticisms considering the many hats they wear. Everywhere they go, people would chime in on how they think they should raise me up with some berating them for ruining our lives with their incompetence. Somewhere along the way, I allowed these comments to get to me and started comparing my parents to other parents and I would wind up feeling bitter and resentful about never matching up.
In retrospect, it was simply selfish of me to only consider my feelings without even listening to what my parents had to say. Such an entitled mindset only drove us further apart and inculcated a lack of gratitude for what my parents have been working so hard to provide me with such as a roof over my head, food & clean water, and an education. Even if they were unable to provide me with the above, it does not make any less of a parent because we do not all start off on equal footing. Moreover, the magnitude of a parent’s love for their child is not reflected solely through their wealth or the opportunities that they can provide. It can also be seen and felt in their day to day actions and life lessons that they impart to their child.
My parents may not always make the best decisions but I know that they were making those choices with me in mind. Like every other person, they have dreams and interests of their own too and being a parent should never mean that one must give up on them entirely. Just as all of us are finding our way, our parents do not have it all figured out and are learning more about parenting every single day, even if it means making mistakes along the way.
I still may not have a desire to have children of my own at this point, but one thing I am certain of is that parenting is an incredible life-changing journey that can humble you to your knees but also bless you with joy and great fulfilment. At the end of the day, it is our setbacks that truly mould us into better individuals.