Our next post comes courtesy of Sara of Stinkerpants Designs. Sara’s daughter Charlie is just a couple of months older than Claire, so we’ve been through many milestones and first-time-mother experiences together. And although Sara and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on parenting issues, her personal blog is one of my favorite mommy blogs to read, because she never writes in a condescending, “my way is better than yours” way and really helps me open my eyes to alternative methods. I hope you enjoy this post — I sure did!
I recently caught an article about parenthood on NPR that confused me. A lot of people have been talking about it, so if this is old news to you I apologize in advance.
The article talks about parenthood, and about how no one ever tells you how hard it is.
Maybe I’m living in some sort of weird alternate universe where everyone is really negative, but I feel like the ONLY thing parents ever talk about is how hard it is. Complaints about lack of sleep, no freedom and public tantrums very nearly scared me out of having kids. Parents seem to have funtalking about the bad stuff, and tend to leave out the good almost entirely. When I think about the other mothers I know, the LAST thing I think is, “I wish you were a little more honest about how hard it is.” I am lucky — most of my girlfriends strike a wonderful balance between talking about the challenges and the positives. But they definitely don’t pretend like their lives are easy. Who exactly is NPR talking to?
I personally think they’re talking about a different generation — my mother’s generation. From what my mom tells me, her generation never admitted that it was hard. They never talked about post-partum depression, about the days when you want to stab yourself in the eyeball with a plastic spoon just to avoid pureeing more carrots, or how your kid hasn’t eaten a well-balanced diet in ages because s/he throws all vegetables on the floor. Instead, they focused on the positives, sometimes exaggerating their child’s intelligence in a non-stop competition for the best and brightest baby. As if it matters AT ALL whether your kid rolled over two weeks before your friend’s.
Our generation, by contrast, is brutally honest — sometimes bordering on dramatic — about how hard parenthood is. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s not so hideously awful that we need to whine about it all the time. Before I got pregnant, I thought parenthood might be horrible. Like, ALL THE TIME, 24/7, relentless horrors. I’m not going to lie – sometimes, when C is needy & won’t let me put her down, or I have to take her to the doctor, it is ABSOLUTELY a house of horrors carnival ride that feels like it will never end. But not all the time. For the most part, it’s absolutely wonderful. Like, rainbows shooting out of my rear end kind of wonderful. And I KNOW that I’m not the only mother who is this happy. And Y is just as happy as I am. So why is everyone talking about the bad stuff?
Honestly, I’m getting a little sick of hearing about how horribly hard it is for everyone. We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad months. We all need to vent — it’s healthy, and it’s necessary. But at what point does it cross the line between venting and nonstop bitching? If you’re finding yourself “down” on parenthood (or life in general) for an extended period of time, maybe the problem isn’t parenthood, it’s a negative outlook on life. There has to be some happy medium between pretending to be perfect and complaining all the time.
I may be alone here, but I find that I have to work hard to meet positive, happy people — parents or not. I try hard to surround myself with people who have a glass half full outlook on life. I mean, really — does anyone need more negativity? On a daily basis, I feel like I encounter more unhappy people than happy people. From the road raging a-holes who don’t want to let you change lanes to the downright MEAN woman who lives down the hall, I definitely don’t feel like people are hiding their misery. Maybe it’s a sign of the times — economic unrest, high jobless rate, etc…but either way, there’s just too much negativity to deal with as it is.
But back to honesty about the trials of parenthood — I’d love to hear your thoughts about the NPR article. My opinion? Either our generation is honest to a fault, or we’re just big fat babies who don’t know how to put our noses to the grindstone and WORK. Are we spoiled into thinking everything should be easy, and cry the second it gets hard? Tell me what you think. Maybe my neighborhood is an anomaly.
Hi all! My name is Sara, and I’m a first time mama with a just-a-teeny-bit-over-one-year-old. I spend my time taking care of my kiddo, running an illustration business called Stinkerpants, and writing about my life on my personal blog. This post might be a little controversial (I know Jenny and I have differing opinions on the subject!), but I love to hear other people’s perspectives, so if you’ve got something to say, say it!