A new piece in New York Magazine has many parents and parents-to-be abuzz over the way it depicts parenthood (i.e. -- not well).
The piece suggests that most parents may love and gain joy from their children, but they do not love and gain joy from the act of parenthood. It seems to have struck a chord since I saw it re-posted at least 15 times.
The thing is, it's true. Parenthood is difficult. More difficult than I ever could have imagined going into it and more difficult than I could ever have imagined when I only had one and that one was only a baby. In other words, it becomes more and more difficult (and soul sucking) as it goes along.
A friend of mine who is newly pregnant and will be a parent for the first time in a few months posted the article on Facebook and was seeking input from others on whether this article -- or her feeling about parenthood, the joy, the excitement -- was real for them.
I say they both are. Parenthood is hard and terrifying and brings me to my knees daily, but it's still the best thing I've ever done.
Here are a few reasons she need not worry:
Kids keep you young: For all the life-sucking they do by not sleeping, whining, asking for things 15 times, and throwing fits, they also remind you of the raw joy that can come from the simplest things -- finding a frog, blowing bubbles, sliding down a slide, having an ice cream cone melt on your face. They have the capacity both to rip your heart out and make it burst with happiness, all at the same time.
Kids make you love your spouse more: I realize this is not always true, but for me, watching my husband love our children has made me fall in love with him in ways I never could have imagined before. He is an amazing father and every time he teaches them a new skill, cradles them as they cry, or throws them into the air, I remember that I am so. Damn. Lucky.
Kids love you like no one else: My 23-month-old is still nursing and his begging and crying drive me crazy. But man. That child loves me. When he sees me, he cries, "Mommy!" with such unadulterated joy that it often brings tears to my eyes. When I pick them up at school, they cling to my leg and make me feel like a rock star. That is love you just can't buy.
Kids make you laugh: OK, so they also make you cry. But wow. My kids sometimes make my husband and I laugh so hard we almost pee our pants. They are so funny. Their jokes, their view of the world, their general demeanor. They are funny little things.