Sometimes parenting sucks (a reminder to myself)

Feb 14 2013 Published by under [Et Al]

To become a parent is to abdicate an absurd number of decisions about your daily life to the actions and health of a human or humans who have little capacity to consider consequences. Much of your life is spent attempting to encourage them to use this power for good, rather than evil, but often you will be powerless to do so.

There are many wonderful things about being a parent and any number of Facebook friends and acquaintances will convince you of that via ascertainment bias. The good is on full display. The cute, the hilarious, the cuddly - it's all out there. The rest? Well, it's more complex and mostly hidden due to societal pressures and our need not to admit we don't know what the fuck we are doing. The minute you think you found the key, the lock changes.

On our best days we can't imagine anything better than spending time with these curious little beasts. On our worst we struggle with the challenges of taming them to the point where we can spend time with them without constantly wishing we were anywhere else. We are thankful for their general good health while cursing the days daycare refuses them and the schedule juggle begins.

During those prolonged times where behavior and health compound the pressures of parenthood to the point of a crushing weight, its hard to imagine a better time ahead. When you're lost in the trees, who cares what the forest looks like? But it always comes around. The trick is to remember it is possible.

10 responses so far

  • A says:

    I hear they eventually move away. About the time they become mostly human. Go figure.

  • DJMH says:

    Oh come on, tell us what your little darlings did to elicit this.

    Mine staged a ten minute tantrum when we threw out his *used* Kleenex, if that helps.

  • Dan says:

    The rest? Well, it's more complex and mostly hidden due to societal pressures

    This.

    This was the hardest part of my first year as a parent. Not the difficulty itself, but the fact that I felt that I wasn't allowed to express how hard it was and how unhappy I was so much of the time.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    DJMH, if it were one thing, this never gets written.

  • TheGrinch says:

    Oh man, ours is 4 months and has begun to show signs of a very stubborn personality already!

  • Molly says:

    Yes on all counts.

    Also, grandparents/family can often help when daycare turns them away (and if you just need a break, in difficult times like you describe), but not if you don't live near family. Another difficult part of being an academic -- having to move away from family. It takes a village, and academia uproots us from that village.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    Cheers, PLS.

  • Alan Townsend says:

    Damn nice bit of writing here PLS. (accurate too)

  • proflikesubstance says:

    It's surprisingly hard to write in a balanced tone on a topic you are in the depths of.

  • Now that I have a house full of teenagers, I look back on the toddler days as all fun and games, and cuteness and affection. I'm still telling myself there are better times ahead.

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