Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Married Pretty Well.

This is an email I got from my husband this morning, and I thought it was pretty appropriate for this site. So, props to the absentee father, W.

I am here at work this Saturday morning, and am consciously taking it easy by looking around the net for things that make me think of you. And as I was reading a couple of blogs, I linked to kottke.org, a pretty interesting blog about random things. I saw this blog about kids and parenting and how it's not all it's cracked up to be. And it made me think about you, and how we were talking last night, and how you are feeling bad because you can't do all the things you used to be able to do. Here's an excerpt:
"The cliché refers to newborn children as "bundles of joy," but recent research indicates that bundles of anxiety, or even bundles of depression, might be more accurate

"Parents "definitely experienced more depression," says Robin Simon, a sociologist at Florida State University who has studied data on parenting.

"Part of our cultural beliefs is that we derive all this joy from kids," says Simon. "It's really hard for people who don't feel this to admit it." Social pressures to view only the positive aspects of child rearing only make the problem worse, she says. "They're afraid to admit it because it runs so counter to our cultural beliefs that children make you happy."

Simon points out what any parent knows very well: Children, especially young children, can create lots of work and stress. "There are very many positive things that come out of having kids, but it's a mixed bag," she says. "They are demanding. They are a responsibility, and it's a responsibility that doesn't end."

And I thought about you and us and how you keep saying that Jooj is so good and you shouldn't be mad/sad/upset/frustrated. And I think that you're selling yourself a bill of goods. Kids are hard. They are depressing, and are TONS of work. I know this just from the (sadly) limited interaction I get with her, and have been feeling pretty bad about wanting to curse at her in the two hours a day I spent with her by myself when I was home.

Don't get me wrong- I want kids. I love Jooj and I know that we're unbelievably blessed to have her in our family, and she is rewarding and awesome. Here's another excerpt:

Changing a diaper isn't enjoyable, and teenagers can be such a pain in the ass, but having kids can also be a profound source of meaning for people. (I like the amateur marathoner metaphor: survey a marathoner in the midst of the race and they'll complain about their legs and that rash and how the race seems like it's taking forever. But when the running is over they are always incredibly proud of their accomplishment. Having kids, then, is like a marathon that lasts 18 years.)

Bottom line is, I am proud of you. I don't begrudge you feeling bad, and modern science doesn't either. Parents, and especially Mormon mothers, get a lot of pressure from a lot of angles to treat kids as shiny delicate glass balls full of pixie dust and platinum that should be set on a shrine in the living room like some sort of Asian family altar, and I completely disagree. For my money, it's ok to think of them as poopy, whiny, snotty, loud little blessings. It's ok to be frustrated and mad, and it's ok to secretly wish that your life is the way it used to be. Because at the end of the day, you're a great mom and you're doing a great job with Jooj.

That's all. I love you.

10 comments:

Tiffany Twisted said...

Can I apply for any open sister-wife positions?

Sincerely,
Another wanna-be super mom.

Geo said...

Excellent. That's what I all perspective, and love.

Dalene said...

Amen.

Amy said...

'tis true. Thanks, Waldo.

fijiangirl said...

What a sweet email to receive from your hubby! I don't even know the guy and it made me feel good!

Teagan said...

I love this post! Thanks!
Sometimes are husbands know just what do say. they do know we have a hard job!!:)

Bek said...

That is so sweet.

He is right. These days in my hous we have a jokey saying "children ruin everything". We know we are blessed and we wouldn't trade it for a second...but they are hard, hard, hard and if anyone else treated us the way our kids did..we would quite our jobs or find new friends, etc...

But we know it is all to get them to learn how to be good people. Sending them to bed a 6:00 pm helps...

Love that W

Kalli Ko said...

this makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

it even reduces my anxiety and very real fear that I won't like my kids sometimes go down a little.

what a jewel that W.

Queen Scarlett said...

It's always a good thing to have a supportive spouse. Especially if it's a guy. My hubby is the same way - he can sense when my nerves are frayed and let's me have the space I need.

I think if we expect that we won't be frustrated - we'll always be hard on ourselves when we are. Parenting is what it is. It's not perfect - it's not easy... and yet it's also about what we focus on.

Growing up I always felt like my parents thought that they were the only ones to impart their vast wisdom on me. As a parent now I realize that that is only a tiny part of it. More than that...at least for me, is that my kids teach me about myself, what I can and can't do and what I need to try to do better. I think that helps me - that perspective that it's not about me teaching them...that their souls are perhaps much more advanced than mine... and are here to teach me. It's up to me to learn little-by-little...sometimes over and over in my case.

There are moments that are really hard... and then those precious moments where my heart wants to burst. Funny thing is... I hardly remember the hard moments when they pass - I chalk it up to a blessing of a forgetful memory - it's the good moments I remember.

I also know that as a child - we were part of that Asian cultural thing where we were taught to respect our elders - to be seen and not heard - to be controlled. Children were scared into submission. So that's why I am diff't with my girls. I don't believe that because someone has years and years on someone - that that equals wisdom or respect. I don't believe in using culture as a crutch. I think that if we as parents want respect from our kids - we ought to give that to our children. I think that as parents one of our greatest lessons is to apologize to our children when we're wrong - otherwise - how will they know to be humble?

And... I've learned long ago not to listen to all the smattering of this or that from other people - They simply don't matter. You and your child...your family matters - nobody else does. If you're happy with what you're doing...screw everyone else.

ps. Sorry... long comment. It's just been sitting in my head marinating all day.

ShazBraz said...

Aw...thanks for posting that. It made my day!