One of my favorite movies is A League of Their Own.
A great, pivotal scene occurs when Geena Davis’s character, Dottie, is about to quit the team and the coach, Tom Hanks’s character, Jimmy, makes an impassioned plea for her to stay. Dottie says that it just got too hard to remain a professional baseball player and Jimmy responds: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Being a parent, especially a new parent, is hard.
Unlike being a pro ballplayer, though, the hard isn’t what makes having children great. It’s not great to be woken up throughout the night. It’s not great to try to comfort a screaming infant. It’s not great when there’s a diaper blowout followed by a pee during the diaper change followed by a big spit up.
And, although not everyone does it, lots and lots of people become parents and raise children. It’s hard not to wonder why it’s so difficult for us when so many others (younger, older, smarter, dumber, richer, poorer) have done it. The doubt, the fear, the lack of sleep, the abundance of crying and bodily fluids–they all amplify each frustration, each negative thought, each difficult moment.
Of course, there is significant greatness to being a parent (I’m told it only gets greater and easier, but I’m not taking anything for granted). The laughs, the cuddles, the kisses. Watching your child grow and learn and love. A big smile the morning after a rough night.
So the hard isn’t what makes parenting great. And that’s fine. Parenting isn’t like being a professional baseball player. But baseball is boring anyway.