Being a parent is the toughest role I’ve ever taken on. Thankfully, it’s also the most rewarding. It doesn’t come with a job description, and I haven’t found a good manual yet – although Google has helped me out a few times. I’m not sure it’s possible to lay out each and every thing that will be politely asked, rudely yelled, and unexpectedly thrown (sometimes literally) your way as a parent. But there is one sure thing about parenting; there are many hats to be worn. I’m constantly switching from one role to another, trying to find the best way to juggle being my daughter’s confidant, playmate, and often, her worst enemy. At the end of the day, I’m Mom. But being a Mom, or a Dad, can encompass a whole bunch of different roles. And I’m learning to love each and every one.
Whether we realize it or not, we teach our kids every day. At the beginning, how to walk and talk. As they get older, how to make friends and use manners. Once they’re school-aged, you’ll be a big part of the reading, writing, and awful algebra learning process. You can’t help but be proud knowing you taught them an important life skill. Seeing my daughter master something as simple as using a fork – without her dinner ending up all over her Peppa Pig shirt – is surprisingly satisfying.
Our job as parents, on the most basic level, is to keep our kids safe. With a two-year-old, that means making sure she’s wearing enough clothes to stay warm outside, holding her hand when we cross the street, and trying my hardest to never let her out of my sight. I know I can’t avoid the inevitable cuts, bruises, and bumps. But I’ll always be happy to pick her up, slap on a bandaid, and smooth things over with a magical kiss better.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner – not to mention a few hundred snack times. I spend a lot of time and energy feeding my daughter. Some days it’s a battle to convince her to eat anything other than cereal, some days she gobbles up everything in sight. I take comfort in knowing I’m doing my best to provide her growing body three (usually) healthy meals a day.
From the never-ending piles of laundry, to tidying up toys at the end of the day, I’m in constant cleaning mode. Is it fun? Pretty much never! But hearing a little voice sing the clean-up song and watching little hands lovingly stack stuffies into a bin, usually helps.
This one is my least favourite role, but I’ve got a toddler, which means I have to play boss-lady more often than I’d like. There are a lot of rules. No jumping at the table. Don’t pull the dog’s tail. Please, I beg you please, don’t wipe your nose on Mom’s shirt! For now, I’m trying to count myself lucky that enforcing bedtime is the toughest put-my-foot-down moment of the day. I’m not looking forward to the teenage years…
And lastly, my personal favourite. I don’t always want to watch The Jungle Book for the millionth time, host a tea party with stuffed animals, or push my daughter for an actual eternity on the swings. But, knowing she wants to do these things with me, makes them pretty awesome. I know as she gets older, she won’t always want to be my friend, but I’ll always be there as hers – even when we reach those dreaded teenage years.
I know there’s at least a few roles I missed, and I’m sure I’ll continue discovering new ones as I go. But if someone ever comes up with a master list or parenting job description, send it my way!