Parenting Series: Joy, Control and Perspective
There are more than 600 comments on the New York Magazine article titled “All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting.” Imagine why:
From the perspective of the species, it’s perfectly unmysterious why people have children. From the perspective of the individual, however, it’s more of a mystery than one might think. Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so. This finding is surprisingly consistent, showing up across a range of disciplines. Perhaps the most oft-cited datum comes from a 2004 study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize–winning behavioral economist, who surveyed 909 working Texas women and found that child care ranked sixteenth in pleasurability out of nineteen activities. (Among the endeavors they preferred: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework.)
When it was published in July, the link was passed around a lot among my own circle of friends. There was agreement and disagreement and there were confessions of guilt, anger, frustration.
We’ve all had the “Ay Dios Mio, Calgon!’’ feeling that parenthood brings and the truth is, we just didn’t know that “Take me Away!’’ feeling would come so often, nor be inspired by the very people for whom you would take a last breath.
My own daughter, age 6 and three-quarters, is a smart, chatty, litigious, negotiates-everything little thing. If I say blue, she says red. If I say let’s go, she says later. If I present her with green beans, she requests corn. Often, by the end of the day, I am ready to scream. And I do.
And yet, this is the same spirit who can make me feel like my heart is filled with confetti and marching bands.
So personally, the conversations I had with other mothers, about the magazine article, were important ones for me and they inspired a series of three posts you will see here on the Tiki Tiki this week.
Today, Marta, who has been a mom for 27 years,, writes about how very fast it all goes in a post titled I Blinked.
Wednesday, Tracy López of Latina-ish writes on Relinquishing Control and Friday Monica Olivera Hazelton of Mommy Maestra, writes about Perspective.
Here is a quote from Tracy’s essay:
I turned the stroller around and rushed home. Closing the door behind me, I tried to slow my breathing, tried to calm myself, but I couldn’t unlearn the truth of what I had realized – I am not in control.
We hope the series will inspire you to share your own motherhood and parenting stories — your difficulties and your joys.