Sometimes I get tired of being so serious about motherhood. These days we're all supposed to lean in and carpe diem and read at least 15 books on the various parenting methods before we can make one simple decision. I'm all about moving along with the times, but when did being a parent become so complicated?
Moms! Dads! This is not rocket science. Being parents isn't really that hard.
I mean, yes, sure, from a physical perspective, being a parent is hard. We have to go on very little sleep and make life-changing decisions about a living, breathing human being.
But intellectually, parenting isn't hard. All it takes is a little common sense to figure out that you must raise a child from 0 to 18 without killing them or at least without dropping them (at least not more than once or twice ... accidents happen to the best of us).
In fact, for centuries, people have parented, and done so fairly well without all the trappings of millennial parenthood. As The New York Times writer Frank Bruni opined recently in an article dubbed, "A Childless Bystander's Baffled Hymn":
I’m confounded by the boundless fretting, as if ushering kids into adulthood were some newfangled sorcery dependent on a slew of child-rearing books and a bevy of child-rearing blogs. The counsel keeps coming, from every possible corner and from unexpected shamans.
As a parenting blogger, I could take offense (and I don't agree with his entire essay). But at this I shake my fist and say amen.
Ours is a generation that takes parenting much too seriously. And the point is getting lost in the shuffle.
Take the words of one of my favorite parenting bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton. Her hilarious and probing forthcoming memoir, Carry On, Warrior, was excerpted on Today Moms this week, and she addressed the insistence that moms "carpe diem," embracing all that motherhood throws our way:
This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways, to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of profound gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
What Melton describes is the exact sentiment that's brought me to tears more often than I'd like to admit. Rather than valuing our total worth as parents, we are seeing bit parts of ourselves pulled out as representative of the whole. The efforts of that mom who walks the floor for hours with a colicky newborn, for example, are rendered moot by her admission that she didn't actually enjoy those exhausted hours with her sick child in her arms. She failed to carpe diem.
THIS is what's wrong with modern parenting.
We have become so entrenched in debating the minutiae of the day-to-day that we forget to look at the whole picture. We are taking each piece so seriously that we simply can't step back to take it all in, lest we lose sight of each single issue.
And folks, it has to stop. Now.
It's all well and good to progress as parents, but for crying out loud, the wheel has been cast. We should be fine-tuning, not creating a new one.
Do you feel like motherhood is hard? What could you relax on?
Image via Jeanne Sager