Parenthood may be one of the most challenging yet satisfactory jobs in the world. I am not a parent, but I think there is no job out there that is nobler or that allows one to attain such joy as being a parent. Being a twenty-something year old, my view on parenthood may be uninformed in terms of experience or expertise, but I think I have a good idea of what parenthood is. Here are my views on the topic.
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Parenthood is waking up one day and realizing that your life is not only your own anymore. It is the shock and joy of knowing that there is a mini-you out there whose life depends on you. Imagine the shock of waking up in the middle of the night; to check up on a toddler who is crying. It is like taking a bus to a destination where you never really arrive. That is, continually doing your best to give the best. You can imagine relearning the joy of being a child through your child. It is like seeing yourself grow, that must be utterly satisfying.
Parenthood is a lot about considering others before yourself. You know how you would just up and take a trip to Nova Scotia, as a parent this would mean almost triple the logistics. There are baby clothes, diapers, formula, and breastfeeding to be had and made. You being your own self, so to speak, is no longer plausible or possible. You acquire an extension of yourself and a new version that you have to tend to and mold into a complete and well-nurtured human being.
The scariest thing about parenthood I think is the responsibility. In my view, it is a lot of responsibility. It does not mean it cannot get accomplished, but only that we should all brace ourselves to be responsible. It is like learning how to take exams in kindergarten or the lower grades. Understanding that your effort is not only just required to exist but has also to exude meaning. Think about it, raising a baby in today’s world with all these distractions, the ambient noise around cities and neighborhoods, the constant engine revs, all that. Just thinking of having to navigate traffic for clinic visits sounds like a mess. The logistics of being a parent, I believe, require the skills of a global logistics expert.
Parenthood is not just something one does out of the faintness of their heart, no. It is an effort to make meaning out of life. As such, parenthood is something that one does out of the goodness of their heart. I am sure that parents don’t always feel that they are rewarded enough or at all for that matter. In this light, it is not a job that should be geared towards rewards. Instead, it is a job that should be geared towards complementing life and achieving the joy of having a family
and loved ones.
The efforts that parents make cannot be repaid and can only be paid forward by being a parent yourself and doing your best in life and as a parent. By giving all and everything, then one can say they have done justice to being a parent and parenthood. I don’t think any parent has ever done a perfect job. In matters of parenthood, there is no perfection, only excellence. As such, all parents do an excellent job. Perfection is for manufacturing watches and not raising a real-life baby.
Being a parent is a scary experience in some aspects. The news and dailies are not kind to children, and general life can be terrifying. It calls for parents to take good care of their children to avoid abuse and bullying, both offline and online. Children should get taught how to interact with social media and the internet as a whole. In this light, I think its okay just to be smart about it and to filter all internet traffic in the house. Through technology, parents can protect their children from online harms. It would also ensure that the children and their technological devices are not vulnerabilities for computer security, and cannot be manipulated by hackers while committing computer crimes. Children should also always get protected from accessing indecent media or rogue music. They should get taught to become increasingly smart about technology and its use.
Above all else, parenthood is a joy of life. Not everyone becomes a parent unfortunately, and if one has that opportunity, they should not let it just pass by. Raising a kid is life-changing and gives a lot of meaning to life. To live a fulfilling life, one must have children. It would ensure that as an individual, one really experiences and appreciates life. Western culture is somewhat not so keen about having children and lots of them, but we Africans can do better. We should not look so much to the modern conventions of family and parenthood. We should follow our own culture. Even if that means polygamy, we should be keen to be Africans and to be parents the African way. Children are a blessing from God and the more, the merrier.
Unlike the last century and the ones before that, health facilitation and modern medicine have adequately advanced meaning that there is enough healthcare facilitation to raise children healthily. A big part of raising a child healthily is to ensure thy undergo vaccination for diseases such as Polio and Measles, as per the directives of your particular country. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and as a parent, one needs always to have their facts right. Organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have very detailed and well-established advice on health and wellness. It includes information on pregnancy and how to raise a child healthily. Vaccination is safe and can get done in a way that bolsters the immunity of the child and not weakens it. Children also need to breastfeed for at least six months and can only be weaned after this period lapses. These are crucial aspects of the initial stages of raising a child. Well-researched information should be sourced from the WHO and the local medical authorities of your particular country.
Today, there are also classes one can take to guide them through pregnancy and nursing a child. Such action, in my view, is not as practical as learning how to raise a child the old fashioned way through apprenticeship. As such, African children will understand what it means to raise a child as a good number of us have probably baby-sitted siblings or relatives. Experience is always the best teacher. It is not such a hard job raising a child, and I think it is one of those things you take a day at a time. It is likely that parents, especially mothers, lose themselves in all the daily tending. It is advisable always to have the baby with a babysitter and taking a day off. Babysitters or house helps can be sourced locally, and this needs to be done legally and in a way that ensures they have papers and get paid adequately.
In my view, having a career and raising a child can be equated to being a rocket scientist, but that does not mean it is impossible. Sometimes things like having dual responsibilities depend on one’s personality and whether they are easy-goers or can only sufficiently tend one role at a time. Regardless of one’s approach, the baby should always be well-taken care of especially in their formative years. Family members and relatives can still help with babysitting, and children should be raised in a clean, safe, drug-free, and caring environment. They should be cared for, loved, and taught well. Being successful in parenthood is raising independent, respectable, accomplished, and healthy children. We should also not forget children with disabilities, and they should be afforded the same love and affection as any other children. For prenatal and postnatal health, expectant mothers should always attend clinic visits. Moreover, they should deliver their babies in an accredited, and recognized health facility, preferably a public one ran by local health authorities.