There is no denying that being a parent is a joyous occurance; many a word has been written about the exuberance that newfound parenthood bestows on the most archaic soul.
Once the initial outpouring of parental euphoria subsides, life can become pretty mundane. Days merge into an endless cycle of feed, clean, entertain, ferry and feed again. With the occasional bout of illness thrown in to break the monotony.
But fret not. It is never too late to inject a shot of chirpy cheerfulness into your parenting. All it takes is the memory of that first unseeing smile.
And if that doesn't work, here are 12 often overlooked reasons why parenthood can continue to overflow with happiness. Or thereabouts.
1) You always have a helper to hand, no matter what the task. From emptying the dishwasher to stuffing that stubborn duvet in its cover, help will always be given to a parent in need. At least till they hit the sulky teens.
2) You always have someone to talk to. They may not listen to what you say. But they can hear you. And it is better to sound off another human being than a brick wall. Infinitely more so than talking to yourself.
3) You need never go to the gym again. Ever. Not if you do the mile long school run chasing behind the child who is keen to become the next big thing on a scooter. And then dragging that scooter back home, only to carry it with you for the return journey. There's your bingo wings sorted.
4) You never need to go on a diet ever again. The child will want to share every last piece of chocolate you had stashed away. You did say sharing is good. And will eat the entire contents of your fridge in a day. Or less.
5) You are guaranteed to get a kiss and a cuddle if you need one to brighten up your day. At least till the time they decide they have had enough of your bearhugs and slobbery kisses.
6) You learn something new every day. You know you do. Nobody can answer all the gazillion 'why's that get thrown at you, without scouring the internet, that all-encompassing source of wisdom, for a satisfactory explanation to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything.
7) Where the World Wide Web fails, the child takes over your education, to instruct and inform you. Perhaps in a last-ditch attempt to reform you. Saving you money that may otherwise have been spent on a self-improvement course.
8) You get to hone your skills as an interpreter. It takes considerable expertise to decipher gobbledygook otherwise known as toddler-speak. And an infinite amount more to crack the code of teen-garble.
9) Ah, that new baby smell! An eclectic mix of baby soap, regurgitated milk and everything in between. That one olfactory memory is enough to brighten up your day. At least till the wafting smell of scrunched up socks and sweaty jumpers in the laundry basket drive it away.
10) You function superbly on as little as four hours of sleep. By the time the child is a grumpy pre-teen who has to be dragged out of bed at midday, your body has adapted to years of sleep deprivation. So you are up at the crack of dawn even on weekends, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, alert and ready to take on the world. Or blog about it.
11) You reach a state of blissful enlightenment akin to Nirvana. Years of practiced patience in the face of intense provocation is almost as good as sitting down cross-legged in Yogic meditation.
12)Mundane. Did I say that? Must have been an unwitting spouting from my sleep-deprived brain. Parenthood is not always brimming with joy, but it is anything but mundane. So if nothing brings you joy, the thought of your ongoing parenting adventure should fill you with anticipation and excitement.
Perhaps even a little dread. Who knows what's lurking around that next corner. Another parenting challenge to tackle and master. Or fail trying.