Maybe you haven’t read the New York Magazine article by Jennifer Senior yet. Or maybe you have, seeing-as-how it’s been quite the buzz around the blogosphere. Essentially, once you peel away some of the condescension and inflammatory zingers like “Why Parents Hate Parenting” -which by the way I don’t always disagree with- it’s a poignant and very relevant -if long winded- article (I could have done with out the creepy shirtless dad in need of a chest waxing photo myself).
Does being a parent cut down on our happiness quotient? Were we sold a bill of goods by the procreation posse; brain washed to think that they only true happiness comes when we impart our wisdom, pour out our worries and heap our savings accounts upon our off spring?
I’ll admit there are days when I, like Harper, “trawl” my cabinets (or rather my tre chic globe shaped bar) in search of liquid coping skills. That said, I can recall days when I did the same after a really crappy day at work, BTS (Before The Spawning).
Senior puts the “scientific” research by big brained folk at revered institutions up there for the reader to take as they will. I for one don’t buy anything from those lab nerds. Heck they keep telling us drinking is bad, then good, and continue to waffle between the two, as though they were DRINKING! How does one scientifically prove another person’s happiness level? Happiness is a fleeting thing, is it not? I mean I can have a great moment in a day, one that fills me joy and IS FUN, but still have an over all crappy day.
Are kids the cause? Some days. Other days it’s the husband, mother-in-law or my own demons rearing their ugly heads. Do I have days where I feel like I’ve been swallowed by parenting and will never emerge with a sense of self let alone a coherent sentence? … um that would be MOST days. On the flip side though I have several friends who are childless either by design or fate who also feel consumed by things outside of who the see themselves as, be that work, relationships or life in general.
Is parenting expensive, hard, often thankless work that sucks the life out of me making me want to run screaming naked into the streets with my hair on fire? Sometimes. Is there a militia militant parents out there hell bent on programing us to bow down to their idea of right and happy? YES! Does that mean that I don’t find happiness in being a parent and an equal part of longing for things I’ve given up to do so? No. Would I trade being a parent to get that happiness? AbsoFREAKINGlutely NOT! Never underestimate joy people. Don’t discount the fun in sitting on the floor with a toddler, a coloring book and crayons or dancing your ass off in the stands at a U2 concert with your teenager. I am a parent. I am a person. I am complicated, exhausted, fulfilled, unfulfilled, appreciated, ignored and some days so filled with the joy of just being that yes, indeed I just may be a little happy.
Please read the article and give me YOUR thoughts