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Parenting: The hardest job which doesn’t come with an operations manual

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Sakile, Na'im and Ajani Zuill *Photo supplied

Parenting is not for the faint at heart. And anyone who tells you that it is easy is telling you a bold face lie! I just entered my 19th year of being a mom and the learning still hasn’t stopped. Now that I have an adult on my hands, the curve balls just keep coming and coming.
This past weekend was Mother’s Day here in the UK, and even after being out here for over two years, I still can’t get used to it. Mother’s Day will always be in May for me, but hey, I get to be honoured twice. Or do I?

My experience as a mother has not been a cake walk and being totally transparent, I never imagined being a single mom. Shoot, my life had been mapped out since I was seventeen. I was going to graduate from university, be married by 21 and have five children before I was forty. Yes, you read that correctly!! I wanted five.

But as we all know dreams and reality can be very disparate things!!

I didn’t have my first until I was a few weeks shy of 27, then my second at 32 and the youngest at 35. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with him. I BAWLED my eyes out. All I was thinking was that I was going to be 70 and he would be thirty-five. I was going to be OLD!! Now that 70 is only 25 short years away, I laugh at my silliness. I’m going to be a flyyy senior citizen—I promise!

Being a parent doesn’t come with a manual. No one told me that boys were that much different than girls and I definitely wasn’t warned that no two boys are alike. My daughter was gentile and didn’t interfere with anything. My first son was always climbing and jumping off of everything and by the time my second son came, it was a free for all.

“Is that a roach poking out your mouth? Make sure you chew properly!”

I’m joking…I really am, but you catch my drift. You just learn to roll with the punches. What is supposed be will be. Took me a while to figure that out!

I thought as a parent, there is supposed to be some degree of perfection. Pureed vegetables were better. Everything sterilised. Huggies were the only brand good enough for my children. It was exhausting. And who the hell really reads ten books a day to their little ones?! Someone with a damn nanny, that’s who! Or a husband, or a mom who lives nearby.

As my children grew into their personalities, nurtured in an imperfect environment, I began to realise that it was okay to make mistakes along the way. Who cares if they had cereal for dinner last night and hotdogs for dinner tonight? No, it wasn’t realistic in my house for them to be bathed and fed and in bed by seven (I envied you parents who achieved that…was it medically assisted?!). Heck, I worked full time AND played sports several days a week. Seven in the evening in our house was like high noon. Eyes rarely closed in my house before 10.30! But they still got their eight hours and our house was happy so who cared about the judgment? Not I!

Now that they are 18, 13 and 9, I look at my children and marvel. They have distinctive personalities. One is always teasing; one is overly emotional and the third acts like nothing matters most days, but at the end of the day they make a dynamic team. Their bond is inexplicable, considering we have lived geographically apart for the bulk of the last two years. But the tie that binds them is their mother. A role that I sometimes think I am failing at. Why? Because I am always trying to push harder to make sure that things are better. And sometimes, I just don’t have the energy to do so.

But that’s how parents are supposed to feel, right? So, I must be doing okay…

In my opinion, parenting is a privilege and is not for everyone. But for those of you who are committed to your children, I salute you. Stop striving for perfection…because if you look close enough you will see that you have already achieved it…just look into your children’s eyes.

You are loved!

CarlaSZ
Editor

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