Recently New York Magazine ran the cover story 'I love my children. I hate my life.' which examined the topic of parental happiness. Do you think it's possible to love your children, yet hate your life at the same time?
When you have children, they become such an all consuming thing, that it's hard to believe that it's possible for that statement to be true.
I remember when I was pregnant, everyone told me... "go out now, because you'll never go out again.... enjoy each other now, because you'll never have time alone again...sleep now, because you'll never get that again..." I heard so many warnings, that by the time I finally had my first, I prepared myself for complete hell. Since she had colic for one full year, it was hell. However, it couldn't have been that bad, because I had four more.
The article had some valid points:
'Kids... went from being our staff to being our bosses'. Now that I agree with. People would have children to work the land, and labor in their family trades. But now we're at their mercy. We'd have DCFS all over us if we made our 5 year old churn butter. I think society in general has made it difficult to put high demands on our kids.
'All parents spend more time today with their children than they did in 1975...(but) still think they don't spend enough time'. I clock in plenty of hours, so am not worried about that, but I do worry about the quality of time. Thank goodness my 3 year old can't read, because I skip tons of words just to get the book over with. Does that mean I hate what I'm doing?
'I feel like I'm surrounded by women who were once smart and interesting but have become zombies who only talk about soccer and coupons'. This is why I stopped going to play groups. I have to be honest. Play groups tend to be filled with "zombie conversations". By the time I had my fourth, I couldn't possibly listen to any more descriptions of pooping, sleeping or eating.
'Children adversely affect relationships'. I think this is true and false. We definitely have very little time together anymore. However it's amazing
to be able to share such an incredible venture with another person.
'Marriages improve once children enter latency...between 6 and 12, though take another sharp dive during the war zone of adolescence'. Couldn't agree more. When they're very little it's hard - both of you manage on very little sleep and it's more like being ships in the night. But nothing is like the teen years. However I do feel like if we make it through this together, we can make it through anything.
There are obviously a lot of reasons out there for thinking children ruin your life. They are hard, time consuming and require an awful amount of work - much of it tedious. But is it a case of the grass is always greener? There are days it sucks. Parenting isn't always what it's cracked up to be. The feelings of guilt and worry seem to out number the feelings of joy and happiness. I think if I didn't have kids I could have done some really cool things in my life. But as cliche' as it sounds, I can't think of anything cooler than watching my kids grow up. I can't think of any cooler feeling than my 3 year old's arms rapped completely around my neck in a big bear hug.
Your life is not terrible. Take some time for yourself. Surround yourself with friends you can commiserate with. Find humor in every possible moment. It also doesn't hurt to have a glass of wine or two.