Sure, anyone can be a parent, but what sets you apart is how you parent ...
Parenting is a constant job you do for the rest of your life (hopefully). It takes a ridiculous amount of selflessness, patience and unconditional love. It also takes a great deal of forgiveness of both your child and yourself to even come close to surviving with your sanity.
Good parenting means making sacrifices and understanding that your child comes first more times than not. Good parenting is equal parts unconditional love, tough love, guidance, structure and understanding. Sometimes, that balance is hard to achieve
While talking with a childless friend, she was telling me how much she loves being an Aunt. She gets to pick her niece and nephew up, spoil them rotten, shower them with love and affection, and then return them to her sister at the end of the day. Because of this, her idea of parenting is WAY off!
Fortunately for her, all she sees are these two happy, mostly well-behaved easy going children. She doesn't have to see the truly ugly side of having children. The crankiness. The illnesses that keep you up all night. The constant battle of good nutrition. The never-ending 'NOs!' and redirection. She doesn't have to be the meany. That's what the parents are for.
Oh yes, parenting can certainly suck and seem like the hardest job in the world at times, but like with everything else, hard work eventually pays off. Which, will hopefully lead to a wonderful child that, thanks to my great parenting, is not a complete terror with zero boundaries. At least, that's the plan.
So for those of you out there that feel like some days you are constantly reprimanding and wanting to rip your hair out, remember, those days are the ones that will lead to proud moments later in life when your child is a well-mannered, articulate and a kind member of society.
At least, that's what I keep telling myself...