I recently conducted a random social experiment in which I went up to parents and unexpectedly asked, "Name me one good thing about being a parent, QUICKLY!"
Usually I'm met with blank expressions and a lot of stuttering, as they sift through their tired brains, dripping with tantrum tears and baby sick, and they end up just making a weird wheezing sound whilst shrugging.
Of course, if I were to ask you about the drawbacks of being a parent, you'd fire off answers quicker than Clint Eastwood. Lack of sleep, no spare time, a squeezed wallet.
But it's time we focused on the positives, the things that make being a parent awesome. After all, people have been having babies for a gazillion years, so there must be something good about parenthood. What can you add to this list?
1. Their imagination will astound you
Whether it's the magical worlds they make up, the crazy monsters they draw, or the way they decide to wear both Spider-man and Batman costumes to create SpiderBatMan (like my son did), their boundless imagination will ignite your own creative side.
2. Their little love notes will make your heart burst
I found a scribbled note in my pocket the other day from my seven year-old son apologising for blowing up my house on Minecraft and telling me he loved me. (This is the same child who wrote a note saying that he was staying in his room forever after I'd told him off.)
3. You stop caring what other people think about you
Everyone these days tries so hard to impress people they don't even know. But when you've got your child on your shoulders and you're bouncing through the town centre singing Frozen songs at the top of your voices, you realise parenthood makes you care much less about how you're perceived.
4. The littlest things make them happy
Telling my kids that we're going to Grandma's for tea triggers celebrations normally only seen by someone who's just scored the winner in the FA Cup final. 5. You're never without a great story
Whether it's the morning your children decided to cover their entire bodies in green marker pen ink, or the day my four-year-old son pooed everywhere but the toilet, you've always got a bunch of good stories to entertain/bore other people.
6. Their intelligence will make you worry that you're getting old
The other day my eldest son rattled off facts about kings and queens of England that I didn't learn until secondary school. And how many times have you heard your child say something clever and think: "Where did they learn that?!"
7. Their enthusiasm makes you a child again
Whether it's getting up at 4am to drive to the airport and go on holiday, or seeing their face on the morning of their birthday, there's no denying that having children resurrects your own inner child. Suddenly, after years of flimsy paper hats and limp crackers, you're excited about Christmas again.
8. You've created a legacy
Some people create new technology, other people invent products and run websites which make them millions of pounds. But, somehow, you've managed to go one better and create a little you, to carry on your genes and characteristics and memories for another generation. And that's pretty special.
9. You discover things about yourself you didn't know before
Quite often you don't realise just how well you react to stressful situations until your son throws a tantrum in the supermarket. Sometimes you don't realise you have any kind of leadership skills until you've encouraged your daughter to eat her greens five minutes after she was adamant that they weren't going anywhere near her. Having children helps you realise that you have more strings to your bow than you first thought.
10. You've got a friend for life
They lie on your chest when they're a baby, you run around the garden with them when they're a toddler, you help them with their homework whilst they're at school, and when they're parents themselves you have them over for tea and talk about the good old days. Bottom line is, if you play your cards right you'll have a friend for life, and someone who doesn't just view you as a parent, but as a best mate.
More on Parentdish: The simple things you rediscover when you become a parent
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