Or at least that’s what a recent study on parents views of parenting says. The study by Richard Eibach and Steven Mock, psychologists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, says that parents now hate parenting more and more; furthermore parents have to delude themselves into their “happy place” in order to keep themselves from leaving their child at the nearest bus stop. The study goes on to say that we parents have more emotional distress, more depression, more financial strain and other drudgery, that make our lives disastrous, in comparison to people who do not have children. According to a TIME magazine article on this report we inflate the benefits of children in order to off-set the reality of children.
The insinuation is, we have to do this in order to remain sane…or about as sane as you get being parents, which, if you read into the article, isn’t a sane at all. A Delusion in clinical terms is a fixed false belief appearing real. Ladies and Gents we are officially in “LA LA Land” if you believe the hype.
Who’s side are you on anyway?
I recently had a conversation about parenting with a friend who is married and committed to not having children despite their intact ability to do so. They have no desire to procreate whatsoever and could find no reasonable argument for it. I have to admit that I launched into the joys of parenthood only to come around to the not so hot part. Long story short, I ended up musing on the joys of no children, in terms of the other things I would be doing with my hard earned cashola.
The reason, children are expensive in more ways than one but then again so is life. Opportunity cost may be high but its the quality of the reward that you have to look at. Also human beings love, love, love the grass on the other side of the fence. We do! I remember being single and wishing to be in a relationship, I also remember the other way around. So as parents, it is normal for us to fantasize about what a great life we would have had or glorify our present existence as a coping mechanism.
Super-parent or Super pain in the Butt?
Parenting is hard especially if you have unreasonably high expectations of yourself and your children. That said I also think the western world is in the middle of a “me” phase now, where if you arent doing you, then life is stressful and anything other than doing you is not worth it.Lets face it raising children is a responsibility that can be joyous but not all the time, it can be fun but not all the time and it can be hard, but not all the time. Pretty much like anything else in life.
I enjoy watching my two human beings develop but, I also put time in for breaks and doing me. Its about balance once again, most importantly, balance in parenting.
I suppose being a helicopter mom or dad is incredibly stressful, but I don’t think that parenting needs to be as competitive or high strung as that. Our children would benefit far more of we learnt to chill out and let them learn some of their life lessons from experience. These experiences are imperative in their growth as independent, confident beings who are masters of their own mind.
In fact the more you understand and appreciate your children for who they are , the more likely its is you can actually learn to like them as people. This one thing would cut out a lot of the distress that can make a parent hate parenting.
As Khalil Gibran said, “Your children come through you but they are not of you”
Money makes the world go ’round-or does it?
The TIME article boiled down the decision to parent as a fiscally unwise move, akin to throwing good money after bad, or fixing an old car up despite the fact that it wont start. Sure, Children are expensive, no doubt, but good money after bad? I beg to differ
Money is not the purpose of children so likening children to investments is comparing apples to oranges. In my opinion, Children give you an extremely valuable opportunity to grow and to love outside of any boundary you now exist in. Even more than the relationship with the “love” of your life.
As a mother, this love is visceral, which is why in Jamaica, the death of a child will invariably lead to the mother gripping her belly in agony at the first sight of this. You literally feel pain without a logical thought for it.
I know Dads also feel this way, as evidenced by death-defying feats they perform to save their children from certain bodily harm.
So if you have a problem putting yourself “out there” emotionally, then by all means, don’t have children.
And, if your real fear is money, then maybe you should not have children, as surely money is a great teacher of love is it not?
What’s the takeaway?
We may be crazy, but parenting relies on quality of relationship and love. If we react badly to parenting it means we need to adjust our expectations and plan for our decision to parent as best we can. Finally, let go and learn to like your off-spring for who they are and trust that you are doing the best you can by letting them explore and learn about this world.
Note well: the study was conducted on parents of young children. As a mother of a 6 and 8 year old I am here to say.. it does get better! They make their own food now (Cheesy balls do not count!) and can hold a lengthy discussion on all manner of lively topics.
FACTOID: Countries like France are facing repercussions of dwindling birth rates due to fiscally sound decisions made by an ever increasing childless population.Their Governments scramble to offer incentives to would be parents inclusive of long maternity leaves with full pay, long paternity leaves, scholarships, housing and the lot.