The “Thankless Job”
“Parenting is a thankless job”
I hear this a lot from parents, thing is though, it’s untrue. It’s not thankless, they are just silent, shown through actions. Having adult children has made me realize this more then ever. I never heard them say “Thank you for reading to me so much when I was little and instilling the love of reading in me”. I have watched them become huge bookworms, reading large varieties of subjects, advancing their knowledge/education independently, and both have a deep love for learning new things. I know that they will pass the same on to their children.
I never heard anyone say “Thank you for loving me no matter what I may do or mistakes I make.” What I did get were children who know that they will make mistakes and they can openly come to me for help without judgement or feeling like I will shun them. I have children who know that I may not agree with some of their life choices but that will never change my love for them and I will always stand by them.
I never heard anyone say “Thank You for making me try new foods” (although I did hear a lot of smack). As adults though they are not afraid to try new things and if they don’t like them, that’s OK too. It also has spilled over in their relationships: My son-in-law was not exposed to a wide variety of foods and is very picky. My daughter has got him trying all kinds of new foods, some he hates some he loves, but the point is that he is trying them. It goes beyond food though, it’s about trying new things in general, and not being afraid that it will just be a waste of time if it turns out bad.
I could go on and on. Children won’t thank us verbally. Our thanks comes from the type of people they grow into due to our guidance and influence in their lives. This is our legacy as patents, because our children learn how to parent from us. They are more likely to repeat the same behaviors with their children. Their “Thank Yous” come in the forms of smiles, hugs, and “I love yous.”
Yes most of the day to day mundane things we do, like cleaning the house, doing their laundry and putting it away, cooking meals, will go virtually unnoticed by others and “thank you” will not be part of the equation. That doesn’t mean they are not important, and if you stopped doing them your family will notice in a hurry, but does it mean your family should be thanking you for them all the time? No. If they did the words would lose real meaning.
So my advice to those who get upset and say parenting is a thankless job: Stop looking for a verbal thank you and look at all the non verbal thank yous that they give you everyday. Treasure them.
Closing thought: Saying thank you is a great thing to do for someone. Be sure you tell your children/significant other thank you for their efforts too. By your example, they will be more conscious of saying it to you/others.