Thankful and Grateful to be a Parent

by Gratitude Girl Robin

“It is a lot easier to prove that you don’t love someone than it is to prove that you do, but one of the best ‘proofs’ I know is the desire to devote time to the person with no expectation of any sort of compensation, including gratitude, in return.”

~ Marilyn vos Savant

I love this quote, and must remind myself of this concept time and time again. This has often been a test for me in my life as a wife and as a mother.

Much of what we do as parents has often been called “thankless”. What we tend to forget is that these children are exactly what we have asked for when we decided to bring them here. We said “I want so much to bring children into this world and to do whatever it takes to see that they grow up to be healthy, independent,  good citizens of the planet.” Therefore, all of the things we do for them we tacitly agreed to do when we conceived them.

When they are cute little babies it seems much easier to do for them and to tend to their needs without expecting much in return….but still, we hope for that smile, and often we hope for appreciation of our parenting from our partner. When the children get older we teach them to say “thank you” for just about everything…..and then we expect them to say it……EVERY TIME we do something for the rest of their lives. When we do not get the thanks and appreciation we think we deserve, we get hurt and/or angry, and a little piece of our heart gets icy, and over time a perma-frost develops in our heart over this sense of entitlement to appreciation.

The antidote for me is always to get quiet, center into my heart and remember the love that I have for these precious beings. My friend and co-author Carolyn Buttram made a gift for me that helps me remember my love for my husband. Carolyn took a photo of him and “photo-shopped” a halo aura around his head. I have since done the same with a family photo, putting a halo around each member’s head. I look at that picture as I meditate on my deep love for each of them, see the Divine in each of them, and all vestiges of hurt disappear.

I said yes to my husband before we married and yes to our children before they were ever born and I love them with every fiber of my being. It is not their job (or anyone’s) to love me in return, let alone express gratitude for what I choose to do of my own free will. I know that I am living my life exactly as I have chosen. I have asked for all of it. I have called it to me.

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One thought on “Thankful and Grateful to be a Parent

  1. The concept of unconditional love is sometimes not expressed from parent to child, even though it seems like that is a given. Often we show love to our children when they do what we want them to, behave how we want them to, or even chose the career or path that we want them to. Of course we love them, but parents often express such underlying – even if silent – disapproval. Our kids feel it even if they don’t hear it from our lips.

    Think about the expectations and pressures that we put on kids these days. The pressure is just enormous…the competition that we place them in from such an early age…often to satisfy parental egos. Instead, we need to practice just letting them “be”. I am trying to do this with my sons now – in their early twenties – to make up for not always doing it so well when they were younger.

    Thank you for these thoughts. And I love the “halo picture” idea!

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