What makes a great parent? Are we doing enough for our child? Is she happy?
I can’t remember the number of times the wife and I had this discussion.
Since our first child arrived, our lives were turned upside down. In an instant, we became parents; our carefree honeymooner statuses were gone. We also felt the most profound sense of love and responsibility towards the small being that was lying in our hands.
At the same time, we had absolutely no idea what to do as new parents. We were scared shitless.
Is she still breathing?
Is she full?
Is she supposed to poop like there’s no tomorrow?
What if we accidentally suffocate her while we are sleeping?
What if there are contaminants in her milk powder?
We have also since forgotten what having enough sleep feels like, what having a clean house feels like, what being able to just cuddle and do nothing on a beautiful Sunday morning feels like, and a couple more things. I also forgot how my wife’s boobs looks like since it became our child’s source of nutrients
But our child did help us remember a few things:
- I remember how she had her eyes opened when she came out of her mother’s womb
- I remember the look on my wife’s face when our baby was passed to her
- I remember the look on our parents’ faces when they saw their first granddaughter
- Her first smile
- Her first flip in her cot
- Her starting to crawl
- Her first tooth
- Her first 100 days
- Her first spoon of apple puree and how she shivered when she tasted it
- Her first words (it was ba-ba, sorry not sorry, wife)
- Her first steps
- Her first birthday
- Her first vacation
- ..and how she can be happy and laughing almost all the time, especially when she is trying to poke her own poop
It’s not all rainbow and sunshines thought. Being a parent is tough, and sometimes I feel that half of the stuff that people write about the joys of parenting are kidding themselves (and it’s not like there’s any turning back).
We’ve both had moments that our patience got tested to its limits and moments that were less than pleasant.
- Like how our daughter refused to sleep just yesterday night and kept kicking me in the face.
- We panicked during the first high fever that our daughter had and was up the whole night taking her temperature (I googled ‘Can I bring my daughter to a 24 hour vet, but my wife must never know about this)
- When she was not well and vomited (seriously, how does a kid eat one bowl of porridge and vomit two bowls back out?), we’ve had to clean up the floor, change her bed sheets, wipe her down, change her pyjamas, wipe ourselves down, change ourselves, and put our daughter back to sleep again; all at 3.30am in the morning.
- When we just bathed her and how she ran back into the toilet when we were clearing her bath tub and how she slipped and bumped her head and got herself all wet and how we had to bath her again
- Having ‘No more monkeys jumping on the bed’ playing on repeat in our heads
Fortunately, we’ve had each other when we needed short breaks, and also a great support system from our immediate and extended family
As cliche as it sounds, being parents has taught us to understand why our parents did what they did. But it also gives us a better idea of what we want or do not want to impart to our kids
Back to the question, are we good parents?
I really don’t know, but I guess the only thing we can do is to take comfort in knowing that we are doing the best we can, within the realm of what we know; and we try our best to learn and improve in what we do not know
P/S: To my sometimes self-doubting wife, you are a wonderful mother, and our child is lucky to have you
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you if you have any parenting tips!