5 Reasons Parenting Doesn’t Suck

A new article is getting a lot of press. If you haven’t seen it yet, read it here: “Parenting Got You Down? You’re Not Alone.” When it came out last week, suddenly a whole lot of voices chimed in to gratefully agree. Here’s a highlight:

“People don’t talk about this enough. It’s really hard, being a parent. At times, it’s crushing. But you’re never allowed to say this.”

Really? Raise your hand if no one told you being a parent was going to be mind-blowingly, life-alteringly hard. When I was pregnant, those who had already been through the experience took great delight in telling me just how awful things could get. (How wonderful it could also be was occasionally added as a side note.)

In the past few years, this has become more than socially acceptable–admitting how hard parenting is has actually become something of a trend. First there are the blogs (brilliant, I love them) like Scary Mommy and The Meanest Mom. Then there was the study discussed in Time Magazine called “Kid Crazy: Why We Exaggerate the Joys of Parenthood.” And the infamous New York Magazine article “I Love My Children, I Hate My Life.” All this has spilled over into life in general–I myself am deeply suspicious of any mom who doesn’t complain about parenthood at least three times a week. What drugs is she on, and where can I get some?

What I’m trying to say is that if you still don’t feel free to admit how hard parenting really is at this point, you have deep issues that can probably only be solved on a psychiatrist’s couch.

I’m also trying to say that I’m really, really tired of hearing how hard it is. You can only beat a dead horse for so long before the inevitable backlash.

And here it is! Just to be contrary, here are five reasons parenting DOESN’T suck.

1. You probably won’t miss your old life very much. This is mostly because your old life was pretty boring. What did you really do, anyway? If you did anything interesting before kids, and it actually mattered, you will continue doing it after kids, even if it has to wait a year or two. Having kids does not change who you are.

2. You get to shop, shop, shop. Oh, my god, this is the best. Almost as good as shopping for myself (almost). Every season Miss L gets a whole new wardrobe. Why? Because nothing fits! Nothing compares to that first year. Seriously, when else can you drop hundreds of dollars on furniture, clothes, toys, and other necessities while feeling absolutely no guilt? Brilliant!

3. You get a second chance at childhood. Yeah, I know this one is a bit of a cliche. But it’s totally true. Watching your child experience something for the first time is like experiencing it for the first time yourself. It’s amazing how incredible shadows, ceilings, and grass suddenly become.

4. You get a new favorite person. Your child is going to be your absolute most favorite person in the whole world. Now that she’s here, life would completely suck if she weren’t around.

5. The hormones are amazing. Consider this: Your two year old is being the biggest brat ever. Right before you wring her scrawny neck, she suddenly grins at you, plants a kiss right on the mouth, and whispers, “I love you, Mommy.” Swoon. This is nature’s way of keeping children alive–if it weren’t for the love hormone surging through your veins, those little monsters would not be long for this world. Check out this funny article on the subject. And for those of you for whom hormones are a bitch instead of wonderful (as in,  postpartum depression), at least the drugs have gotten pretty good, and the good hormones come later, I swear.

To end this mushy post, here’s Miss L discovering the joy of bubbles. I can’t believe I haven’t played with bubbles in 30 years–how could I forget how awesome they are?!

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6 Responses to 5 Reasons Parenting Doesn’t Suck

  1. Erin says:

    I loved this! And that first reason is more true than most people want to admit. The time between college and marriage/children honestly wasn’t full of much besides working. I hung out with friends, but I still see my friends now that I’m a mom. I still have my hobbies. And next summer we are taking our 5-year-old to Italy for three weeks to visit family. I never left the country before I had a child!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for number 5 on your list. I was diagnosed with PPD. Honestly, anytime someone complains about how hard parenting is, I want to shake them a little. We all know it’s hard (for some of us, harder than for others). It’s ok to vent now and then, but this is all we hear now. Especially when we are also hearing about how restaurants and airplanes are banning kids, it seems like children are under attack a little (from a public relations perspective, if you know what I mean).

  3. Mal says:

    I’ve never read your blog before. This is an excellent post! Thank you so much for pointing out what really needed to be brought to our attention. I love being a mum! My two-year old can drive me up a wall sometimes, but she’s also one of the funniest, funnest people I know! I hope you don’t mind if I share this post with others. I think everyone should read it! And add to it!

    • Thanks, Mal! I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to hide how hard parenting is, but at the same time I don’t want to get so wrapped up in the negativity that we don’t see the good.

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