Before I had kids, I thought the hardest part about being a parent was having to deal with the crying, whining, back talk, and lack of sleep. And don't get me wrong, they are hard to deal with.
But the worst part of parenting is feeling helpless to help your child.
The first time I experienced that helplessness was when Alex had a conflict with another child, and I just knew that the right thing to do was to let him handle it - even though I desperately wanted to step in and make things right myself.
But there's a little solace in that kind of helplessness, because it's accompanied by the knowledge that such growing pains are necessary for my child's proper development as a person.
That kind of solace doesn't exist with medical conditions. I learned that last year, when my son was hospitalized. My only comfort was in knowing that what we were dealing with was incredibly minor compared to what most other patients in the same ward were handling. And we were lucky, because after some serious conditions were considered and then ruled out, we were left with what was, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively minor diagnosis.
Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and put things in perspective for my younger self: Nothing I endured before becoming a parent compares to the pain of not being able to help my own child.
What do you think is the hardest part of parenting?