Monday, February 24, 2014

the joy of parenting

Linking up at Conversion Diary for the 7 posts in 7 days challenge!

The other day I saw a link to this article on one of my (childless) Facebook friends' newsfeed: Why Do Parents Make Parenting Sound So God-Awful?

For those not interested in reading the whole thing, the gist is as follows: "Lately it seems like everyone online just talks about how hard parenting is. And I get that they're exaggerating a bit for commiseration and comedic effect, and they shouldn't have to pretend everything is perfect and easy. But still... for me, the childless female journalist who would someday like to have children, it sure makes parenting sound scary and unappealing!"

Now, I recognize that the journalist is approaching the issue from the perspective of our modern world, for which children are something of an inconvenient addendum to life (exemplified by the now famous-- or infamous, depending on whom you ask-- TIME cover article "The Childfree Life"-- as if being child-free is like being cancer-free). And children aren't that at all-- having children is part of the natural order of things-- they're not an addendum, they're kind of the whole point. Simcha Fischer wrote one of my favorite posts ever on the subject: The Earth Is A Nursery.

Enough with the digressions, I guess. To summarize the original journalist's worldview on the topic-- "To Reproduce Or Not To Reproduce: What Will Make Me Happier?" But she's not totally to blame for that-- it's the worldview of our whole modern society too-- and, still and all, she has a point regarding how we (parents) present parenting.

Dwija at House Unseen made a comment once which stuck with me, saying that she tries [and succeeds!] to look at least somewhat put-together in public, because if she looks like a drudge then she's basically telling the world by her appearance that mothering is nothing but drudgery. And of course there is some drudgery to it, but that's not ALL there is. And honestly, every career has some drudgery to it. Paperwork? Grading? You know what I'm talking about. But what career has the same kind of joy?

So here's me resolving to present-- and to better see for myself-- a little more of the joy. Because it is scary-- the scariest thing ever. And sometimes it's totally exhausting. But it's also the best thing ever.


  1. I think about this every time I drag my exhausted self to the grocery store. How do I want to come across? As someone who resents her blessings? Nope.

    1. I try to keep it in mind, too. Of course, the more tired you are, the harder it can be!