Its back! I can’t tell you how giddy I am. GIDDY! After a short hiatus ControverSunday has returned. So, head over to Perpetua and tell her “I am soooo glad ControverSunday is back and to show my appreciation here are some topic ideas I would love to see covered….(fill in the blank)” Then head over to Accidents to thank her for the ControverSunday badge and say “Your badge is super cool. I want it on a t-shirt. Also, so happy that it is showing up on multiple blogs this week on all sorts of ControverSunday posts.”
Then. Go read this article which sparked our ControverSunday topic this week and go visit Brooke and read her post about it. Theeeenn. Go write your own post about the article and what you think and get the ControverSunday badge and link up and join the discussion. THEENNN….. Go read all the other great contributions this week…. and keep checking back…. cause Sunday may be in the name, but we like to spread it out across the week to prolong the fun.
Oh, and if you have time after all that, you can read my post below….
First off, my plan is to pepper this post with my favourite quotes from the article. So, in the interest of insuring I give appropriate credit where credit it due… all quotations are from said article, written by Jennifer Senior, whom I believe to be fabulous, based on how great this article is.
So don’t tell my husband, but I think this article may have convinced me that one kid is enough. Really. It is hard enough with one, and if more won’t make us happier, won’t give us a happier marriage, and will stress us out more (on all levels- emotionally, physically and financially) then why do it? We have one beautiful, smart little kid, who needs more then that? Other then that undeniably strong magnetic urge to hold a tiny baby again. (NO. We are not trying right now.)
“It’s a lovely magic trick of the memory, this gilding of hard times. Perhaps it’s just the necessary alchemy we need to keep the species going. But for parents, this sleight of the mind and spell on the heart is the very definition of enchantment.”
I really 100% truly believe that all (most?) Moms have selective amnesia when it comes to the first 6 months of babies life…. I keep telling myself that if it weren’t for the breastfeeding struggles, that first 4 months could have been enjoyable, maybe. Sleep deprivation, sure, but mostly just hanging out and cuddling with baby. Feeding. A bit of diaper changing. That’s it though, right? I mean, they pretty much just sleep, eat, cry or poop…. not that hard….? See. I obviously have amnesia.
The article hits all the main points on the head. It doesn’t miss a beat. It covers how we live differently then in the past. Individuals instead of communities raising kids. It talks about how we view parenting as something we are supposed to get right, something we should research and invest time and money into, the same way we do in our education and careers. Kids are like a very intensive side project. And if we do it ‘wrong’, we have messed them up for life. I love where it talked about the mother who thought she ‘messed up’ sleep training because her baby didn’t sleep as much as the other Mom’s she knew. It totally sums up the culture of today’s parenting.
“And high among them is the possibility that parents don’t much enjoy parenting because the experience of raising children has fundamentally changed.”
No wonder the one place the studies about parents not being all that happy don’t hold true is Scandinavia- the place with the best social support system available. If we aren’t going to have a village to raise our child, then at least we need affordable child care, great maternity and paternity benefits, free education through post secondary…. That would sure help to reduce my stress and allow me to enjoy my parenting a bit more.
And no wonder with so many of us feeling overwhelmed with the pressure to produce a Laurette prize winning author or a Nobel prize winning scientist, that more parents are saying no to the pressure and adopting the ways of the “free range” or “slow” parenting styles. Sure, I want our kid to be exposed to music, athletics, art and nature. But I also want her to be able to play on her own and not need an ‘activity’ all the time. And I don’t want to spend every moment of my day driving from one activity to an other. Slow parenting is where its at, yo.
“Today’s married mothers also have less leisure time (5.4 fewer hours per week); 71 percent say they crave more time for themselves (as do 57 percent of married fathers). Yet 85 percent of all parents still—still!—think they don’t spend enough time with their children.”
The article also didn’t skip a beat when it comes to addressing the psychology of happiness. Sure, I may be less happy on an hourly to hourly basis since having a kid, but I would say overall I am more satisfied with my life. My life has more purpose because of my daughter. And that doesn’t mean you can’t have life with purpose without kids. It just means my life didn’t have as much purpose then as it does now.
“While children deepen your emotional life, they shrink your outer world to the size of a teacup, at least for a while.”
The article even touched on that feeling so many of us have of going from being smart, engaged citizens with intelligent things to talk about, to spending most of our free time going “beep beep” and cleaning up bums. At the end of the day, there is little in the tank for conversation.
So yeah, parents may love their kids, but most of us also are mighty frustrated with the act of parenting. I wouldn’t believe any parent who said they didn’t feel parenting one of the hardest things they have every done (except maybe if they have climbed Mount Everest or solved an incredible complex algebra problem or something).
But that doesn’t mean all parents experience parenting the same way either. I know there is some dislike out there for those Mom’s who don’t ever seem to complain. You know, the ones who present parenting like it is all roses and sunshine. I have to just say this: just because something is hard and frustrating, doesn’t mean we should discount that some people enjoy it more then others. I think about the lady that runs the dayhome we take A to. She obviously loves what she does. She loves taking care of kids so much she takes care of 5 kids in addition to her own. I can tell she is happy to do it by the look in her eye when I drop A off. And I am sure she finds it frustrating and challenging. I really believe it is what she wants to be doing every day. And I, for one, believe her, she is not just putting on a front. More then that- I admire her. I don’t think she is a ‘better’ Mom then a Mom like me, that just wasn’t cut out for being a stay at home parent. But I also respect that her experience of mother hood is different then mine. And thank goodness, because my daughter adores her.
That was the one piece I felt was missing in this article. The recognition that while we all may find parenting frustrating and difficult, there are lots of parents out there that would put taking care of kids tops on their list of preferred tasks. It depends on your perspective. And I, for one, am trying to take a page out of those parents books and focus on how wonderful it is to just spend time with my daughter and really, truly be happy.