Parenting: if you want to do it well, it’s hard.
One day I was chatting with a colleague of mine about children. We had just had our baby, so it was a frequent topic of interest in my conversations with people. The lady I was talking to said something to me that stuck, and has actually churned in my head ever since. I didn’t write it down at the time or anything so this is not a direct quote, but the general idea was this:
“Parenting can be really easy, or it can be really hard. If you want to do it well, it’s really hard.”
Before that time, it had never occurred to me that parenting could actually be done well, or be done badly. As obvious as that sounds. I always thought that somehow parenting was just surviving, and that everyone just did what they could do to make sure their child stays out of trouble, stays healthy, gets an education and gains some general social skills. But when this person told me that, suddenly it occurred to me that parenting could be compared to a technical skill. Like speaking another language, or learning to play a musical instrument – something with legitimate difficulty. A skill that takes lots of practice, research, reading, writing, questions, answers, etc. It’s a lot like getting a degree (except that the classroom is everywhere, classes are 24 hours a day and meet every day of the year). Additionally, instead of a 4 year degree, this is approximately an 18-25 year degree, and even then it never really tapers off completely.
At the moment she said that, I realized that if my son was to grow up smarter, stronger, and faster, I was going to have to really put some work and effort into this parenting thing. Articles, books, talking, practicing, etc. – all the work (and benefits) that might go in to learning a new language or musical instrument could and should be applied to parenting.