Are 'Happy Parents' Delusional?

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Look around at your house and your body and your life. If you see what I see, you see reminders of children everywhere.

There is a doll sitting next to me that my daughter didn't clean up before she went to school, scars on my stomach that have faded a lot, but I can still see, which provide memories of when my children lived there. And then of course, there is our bank account, which used to have a lot more zeros in it prior to having children. Still, I don't regret my decision to have them both for one second.

According to Time, this makes me delusional. They cite a recent study showing that parents "idealize the emotional rewards of parenting [which] helps parents to rationalize the financial costs of raising children.” Interesting. And yet, I don't think I'm delusional.

It's true, children have cost me an enormous amount of money (at least $70K so far in childcare alone and they're only 4 and 2.5). When I think about the disposable income that my husband and I would have without them, I kind of want to weep.

Then, of course, there is the marriage itself. My husband and I are unique in that our bond was strengthened through our kiddies, but that doesn't mean there is no strain. We fight a lot more about who is doing what and who should handle what. We are often at odds over something to do with our children, and very often we are strained to the max because of something that indirectly deals with them -- no time alone or less money.

Maybe on paper, it does seem like having children is a giant waste of time and money. The return on the investment is just not worth the rewards. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. And not because I am that sanctimommy who will bore you with platitudes about how perfect my life is and how joyful my children have made it. I think we all know that women like that are, indeed, delusional.

My reasons for wanting to have children were simple: I wanted the family I lost. When I was 16, my mother died and I wanted nothing more than to be back in a strong, loving nuclear family. My extended family is, unfortunately, not exactly what you would call warm and loving, so I craved a family of my own making. Also, I wanted to help shape a person, to be part of something greater than myself and to feel that kind of all-encompassing love.

I never expected it to be easy. But when people talk about how "hard" parenting is, it usually seems like they mean the lack of sleep and the lifestyle changes. Those are problems with babyhood. The reason long-term parenting is hard is for a whole other set of reasons I like to call the emotional gutting. It isn't easy to shape little humans, and if you think it is, you probably ARE a bit delusional.

The only people I know who have ever said how wonderful every single second of parenthood was were later found to be insane. One was stalking people online in order to say how WONDERFUL every SECOND of motherhood was and if anyone disagreed, they were clearly evil. Yeah, she counts as delusional.

But for the rest of us normal people, parenthood isn't a non-stop party, but who expects it to be? I think of life as a tapestry and children add the color. Sure you could have a fulfilling and happy life without giving birth, but for me, the regrets of not having children would have far outweighed the frustrations they bring to the table.

I may not view every second with my children as a blessing from heaven. I'm not under any delusions about the difficulties of parenting. But I don't regret my decision to have them for a second. Not everything that is worthwhile looks good on paper or comes easily. Children cost a lot, but life without them would cost me more.

Do you think you are delusional about parenthood?


time for mom, a mom's life

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Beths... Bethsunshine

I guess I must be, because I think having children and raising them is a blessing. No they aren't perfect and neither am I. I have my moments of frustration ( just had one a few minutes ago about the kids keeping their playroom clean), but the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. Anyone who thinks children are a burden, a waste of money and space, is selfish and ignorant.Anyone who thinks every single second of parenthood is full of sunshine and rainbows, is lying and delusional. NO ONE is perfect. According to some people on this site, you're not allowed to be frustrated or have bad days as a parent. They need to get their heads out of the clouds, or maybe their own rear-ends.

xavie... xavierlogan09

if being a happy mom means i'm delusional then so be it. i absolutely love being a mother and my son. it's not fantastic every second. i don't think my son is a waste of time or money. 

coffe... coffee.crisp

Fantastic article :). I agree totally.

nonmember avatar Anon

Maybe a little, considering that most of the time when I feel "my kids are so wonderful" they are asleep. But seriously, there are so many moments when kids brighten up our lives. Their smiles are worth a million sparkling diamonds. They are funny, inventive, surprisingly smart, an effective mirror, ever hopeful. They teach us to live in the moment and never dwell on the negative for too long. They don't really ask for much if we don't teach them to expect much. They will play all day with the laundry hamper. They don't care if Mrs. Jones' kids are better dressed. And if nothing else, they remind us that there is indeed an amazing God. ... One wonders what agenda is behind articles such as the one you are quoting. Sad people, sad intentions.

Memph... MemphisSuzi

I am not delusional about the invest (time, money, stress) that having children causes...but when I think of a life without them it seems so empty.  Yes, it would be "easier" on some levels and there are days when I want a mommy break - but I am a happy mom with realistic expectations and am not 'deluding myself.

RanaA... RanaAurora

The MONEY isn't a downside to me! How ridiculous. The downsides are also emotional, so of course I'm going to focus on the positive ones. That's not delusional -- that's called not being a depressed pessimist.

nikag... nikagurl5889

I don't think I'm delusional about motherhood. Sometimes my DD makes me so frustrated I wat to walk out the door and stay gone for a week. But when she climbs into my arms and lays her head on my chest,I remember why I love being a mother.

emmas... emmasmama2007

I completely agree. I love my kids and wouldn't trade them for the world, but the stress, frustrations, and expenses are real too. I get annoyed with people who claim how perfect their lives and mootherhood is.
And I agree with anon's comment about teaching kids about expectations.
Children are definitely worth the rewads.

Pnukey Pnukey

I am not delusional about anything.

vamom08 vamom08

I'm not delusional I love my daughter but its hard being a single mom at 21. I wish I could have done everything right so she could have two parents but she got me I look at her like a angel all kids can be handfuls at times but imma make it .lol

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