Tuesday, August 3, 2010

makes you think...

I read this over on Inner Pickle's blog today, and frankly, I can't stop thinking about it.

I don't know who the woman in the article is that she refers to. But it reminds me why I so often want to slap a little sense into people.

Let me begin by saying that I can appreciate parenting styles of all ilks. I know that every child is different, every person is different, and that each individual has his or her own path to parenting. Barring those people who are truly awful human beings and do horrendous things to children, I'd wager most of us are doing the best we can, the best we know how, with the best of our abilities. I wouldn't begrudge a parent nursing longer than I did (or would) anymore than I'd preach to a person who did not/could not nurse at all, for example. So I fail to understand how one person, a lone mother of an only, an easy, baby, could try so hard to make other mothers feel like failures. Is that not what she is trying to do?

Parenting is a series of choices. Yes. But they are not unlimited choices. I can not say, for example, that I would like my son to sprout wings and fly. Or rather, I can say it, but it is not something I can choose for him. Similarly, I can not choose for him to stay up and be manageable at midnight because I really really want to see the new jazz band. I can't choose that he can accompany me at a "21 and up" bar. But those are the big things. This inability to choose gets more and more subtle. I can, for example, choose to get my children vaccinated. I can not make it painless, though. And while I wholeheartedly chose to have both of my lovely babes, I can not choose to be happy all the time. I can't choose for parenting to be easy. And to suggest that all those stressed-out, I love 'em dearly but I'm gonna kill 'em parents out there are just CHOOSING to be unhappy... well it's flat-out irresponsible.

Why would anyone choose unhappiness? Is there anyone out there who enjoys complaining about the very thing she loves more than anything else, her beloved children? I don't. I don't like complaining because I'm covered in drool and have been for nearly a week, because deep in my heart I know that my whining is mostly because I feel incompetent... I feel powerless to stop the pain of teething I know my precious baby girl is going through. I complain because I'm seeking out the Sisterhood of Mothers. The women who, with wisdom, kindness, and humor, can bolster me and prop me up, and let me know that it's okay to feel powerless, that we've all been through worse, and that we are here for each other. Not so that some self-righteous, smug twit can tut-tut at me and tell me that I'm choosing to be unhappy. I'm choosing to make it hard.

I wish I could put that back on her. When she says she finds it "easy" to get up with a crying baby in the night, I say I don't. I find it hard. Probably for the same reason she thinks it easy. I find it hard because this little, wonderful person, whom I love completely, is so very dependent on imperfect, fallible me. How can such a responsibility be taken lightly? How can you look at the hugely important task of caring for a child and call it easy?


Michelle said...

Well said.

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

I agree - I bet her article wouldn't be the same article if she had twins or when her child starts to walk or when potty training doesn't come so easy. I would not say that parenting is easy - it's not like hitting that button at Staples.

When my first was born he was an easy baby - when he became a walking toddler it got a little harder - When my daughter was born it was controlled chaos - Now that I have 3 children ages 7, 3, and 1 I would not call my life easy but I wouldn't say it was the hardest either. There are days I want to pull my hair out, throw a temper tantrum, and sip drinks on a beach all by myself. I often joke that we can't own nice things anymore because they will get broken but I know that I would not give up this life that I wanted for anything!

Parenting easy, no I wouldn't say that, especially to a 16 year old pregnant teen who has no support or to anyone else that is going to be a mom for the first time. If we told everyone it was easy we would be setting them up for failure. When buy a piece of furniture that needs to be put together and someone tells you it is easy when something goes wrong you feel like you did something wrong. If someone told you that same piece of furniture was hard to put together you are already expecting the worse, and you did it easily you feel proud. I think that is main point of why people say parenting isn't easy.

Wanderingsue said...

Thanks, mate, that was wise and comforting. Glad to meet you!

Monked & Fifed said...

You know, I don't think that people should have children to enhance their own lives, because it does not quite work like that...not unless you REALLY want it. Being a parent is hard, especially as they get older. In the beinging it might be about getting shots, making the tough choices, but as they get older the decisions become harder {sometimes} and the kiddos are more strong willed.

Tosser, complicated...call it what you will. I remember hearing my mum tell me that when my kids said "I hate you", it meant I was doing a good job. Parenthood. Sending your littles to bed early bc of bad behaviour when you'd rather be snuggling them is no fun... I know it is part of the process. But no, not easy...we as parents have such a responsibility. To me it is an honor to raise my 3 littles...and perhaps it is because of that attitude, I love it + them and am so grateful to be a mama.