Do You Need a License to Become a Parent?

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Know the Real Reason You Want to Have Children.

Several years ago, I watched “Parenthood” with Steve Martin. There was a scene where Keanu Reeves’ character was commenting on parenthood saying something like, and I paraphrase here, “You need a license to catch a fish or to drive a car, but they’ll let anyone become a parent.”

Clearly he was commenting on the challenges he’d faced with his own ill-equipped parents.  At the time I was viewing this film, I remember laughing a little at this line –
though I think it was intended to be serious. But in the few times I’ve watched the movie since then, this line has taken on a new meaning. Maybe it is because my children are older and new challenges are arising. Or maybe my infatuation with Mr. Reeves has faded and I’m now paying attention to the words instead of the actor reciting them.

However the line is interpreted, it begs the question of why DO we choose to have children? For some it is their ‘calling’. That is, they have known their whole lives that they wanted to be a parent. Not to be sexist, but my guess is that more women than men feel this way. I have many friends who are stay-at-home moms and it is crystal clear to me that they were born for the job.  They do really cool activities with their kids. They seem to know exactly what to do and when. Rather than being bored with the day-in and day-out sameness, they somehow thrive in it. They have a passion for it and it is a job they love.

When I had my kids, it pained me to go back to work, but I soon realized that I was not the stay-at-home-mom type. I needed to wear multiple hats. Mom and Career. I think it helped me to enjoy my children even more as I would rush to pick them up at daycare and loved how they ran into my arms upon seeing me.

Having kids for me was a natural progression of me becoming an adult. While it was something I thought everyone was “supposed” to do, I did want to become a mom. I did want to have the privilege of raising children and seeing how my knowledge and experience could help mold their little lives. And as soon as I figured out that I was learning more from them than they from me, it became an even richer experience.

Being a parent is tough. Let me rephrase that. Being a good parent is tough, especially being a divorced parent. It does not get easier as they get older. In fact I think my kids need me more now than they did as young children. I’m grateful that my work keeps me at home so that I can be here for them when they’ve had a tough day at school or have lost a friendship or just need a hug. Are there days when I’d rather be doing something else? Sure…but I made a decision to have children. By my kids choosing me to be their mom, they hired me for this job.

And like all the jobs I’ve ever had, I’ll be putting forth my very best effort. Some days that effort makes me look like June Cleaver. Other days, more like, Roseanne.

Either way – my kids know their mom loves them and even if they don’t agree with my ideas for raising them, I know that the decision I made to become a mom was the best decision I ever made.


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