7 pleasures of parenting

I hope you agree there are pleasures of parenting, even when it’s been a trying day.

For me, today is that day. It’s been raining, we’re stuck in side and we’ve been up since 5.30am. The toddler tornado has left nothing in its wake.

I scan the room looking at the crumbs on the carpet, Thomas the Tank Engine and friends have crash landed off the tracks. The puzzle pieces are strewn over the floor along with pieces of paper and crayons. Books are spread and splayed across the couch. I must have sighed. Very loudly.

Then I feel a touch.

Small fingers grasp at my fingers and as I look down, I lock eyes with the tornado. He gently tugs at my hand and as I bend down and rest on my knees, he says “happy face, mummy?”

I smile. These 3 little words of his make me forget all the other thoughts; the worries whittle away and instead I focus on this little pleasure.

It makes me think, Yes! This is hard and while I’m not in love with the job; the endless cleaning and washing, planning and cooking nutritious meals only to have it picked through, I am Truly, Madly and Deeply in love with this little person.

7 pleasures of parenting

I’ve been reflecting on the year that’s been and as the images pass through my mind’s eye, it’s the little gestures that stay with me the longest. As much as it is the toughest, most demanding job in the world where tears can flow plentifully, I choose to focus on the pleasures of being a parent.

“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.”

— Norman Lear

I had a great conversation with my husband about this recently, where we shared which were our favourites. I don’t have a complete list as it’s likely it will keep growing, but these are the gestures that get me every time;

  1. When I’m having a bad day and my little one turns to me and says “happy face mummy?” I’m reminded of what’s really important and smiling, even a fake one, triggers our bodies to release endorphins. These happy hormones also help reduce stress.

  2. When I’m sitting on the floor, in a seat or on the couch, my little one climbs in my lap and sits and leans into my curves. Sometimes we just sit together, sing songs or nursery rhymes or we play a game of tickle, and it’s all within an embrace. Touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding and health.  

  1. When my son shouts with glee and claps his hands every time we offer his favourite foods or we play his favourite games. His easy joy is an instant mood lifter.

  2. When my husband plays ‘funny faces‘ with our son. I love watching their interaction and their joy from making faces and copying each other. I now understand that mirroring helps with their connecting and also in our little one feeling more self-aware.

  3. When there is music playing my little one breaks out his dance moves, using his arms and legs to really get into the music, that I can’t help but join in. This is my version of mirroring with him.

  4. When my son says “hi” and waves to every stranger on the street. He could be offering free hugs soon.

  5. When we’re lying in bed at the end of the day and my little one turns to me and says “mummy kiss“. In the words of MasterCard, Priceless.

These get me. Every. Single. Time. They’re instant mood lifters and they’ll stay with me in my mental image reel until I’m wise and old.

How about you?

What pleasures in parenting do you have and what tiny successes have you been collecting?

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18 responses to “7 pleasures of parenting

  1. As hard as your day might be, I always always love the cuddles before bedtime. And I adore watching their faces when they sleep (although my kids are already “big”). It is peaceful and it reminds you of every single stage of their life so far… The sleeping, the not sleeping. Gosh, I love every moment with my kids! I love to hear them giggle! I love when they hold hands or discover something together although 4 years of age difference!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really love your comment! I can feel the passion and love you have for your kids and ‘watching them sleep, hearing them giggle’ are such simple pleasures but it can add so much meaning to our lives. Thanks for taking the time to share 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post so much. It is refreshing to talk about the pleasures of parenting, because there really are plenty. One of my favorite gestures that has started recently is my boy hugging me and then stroking my back and my hair. So tender and pulls at my heart strings. Makes me feel so loved. And then our most recent game is we will give each other tackle hugs. He will start, arms outstretched, from across the room, and run into my outstretched arms. until we fall over hugging. Parenting really is full of the most joyous moments of life. Beautiful post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marla. What a beautiful gesture you share with your son, stroking your back and your hair – it’s so intimate and says so much about the relationship and bond you have with one another. I LOVE the tackle hug! Btw, I saw your post on ‘My happy place’ and I thought it’s so great that everyone’s sending positive vibes out into the world, and being reflective on what brings happiness and joy so that we start the new year in a positive place 🙂 Thank you as always for your thoughts x

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  3. I looooooooooooooooved this post! Now I’m tempted to go squeeze my toddler while he sleeps haha my son has been finally calling me “mummy” lately and I swear, I’m ready to give him the world when I hear it. Waited almost 2 years for that word!

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  4. Even though my Brat H is all of 7 months and he can only gurgle, barely manages to crawl, but we have our pleasures too, for instance, endless cuddles and kisses before going to bed and waking up to a sunshine full of wet kisses and a smile brighter than thesun! There is abso no cure of this love addiction. This post has inspired me to share my parenting pleasures!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was such a wonderful post… I think it is amazing that you have this clear perspective even in the midst of a hard day. I have to agree…. parenting is one of the hardest most sanctioning roles we will ever have… yet hands down, one of the most rewarding!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very kind with your comments. I think that the unexpectedness of my son’s words, how he sensed my mood and how he tried to tell me to be happy in his little way, broke through me. It was just so human and it made me hopeful 🙂

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  6. The tornado. 🙂 your description of your house hit with mass destruction made me smile as it so closely resembles mine! I really love your list. Little ones sitting in my lap is one of my favorites too. It is certainly the small things every day! I replay those moments over and over as well, and it is truly amazing how these little human beings can lift our spirits and give us such pure joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that doesn’t mean my little one is making the amount of mess of 3 kids 😉 I’m learning so much as a mother, and agree with you that these little human beings can lift our spirits. Even if the gesture is small, the goodwill is immense especially when we replay it back over and over again.

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  7. Beautiful list. It’s always a pleasure to read about the happy side of parenting. So very true, these moments bring happy hormones that can get you through the day. The trick is to be constantly aware of them to enjoy parenting. I love it when my 8-month old give me his sweet smile, and when my 2-year old blurts out “i love you so much, mama”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with you 100% Jan, the trick is to constantly aware of these moments, these snippets of time that can just pass by otherwise..I think that was the main reason why I started to journal little descriptions of the day and then started this blog so that I could remember them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! I especially relate to your mention of mimicking. Lately my son sticks his finger out, E.T.-style, to touch ours and gives a big smile and giggle when our fingers meet. He also does a little happy feet tap dance on our hard floors and when I mimic him, we’ll go back and forth tap dancing. These are definitely things I hope I remember as he gets bigger. Thanks for sharing!

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