Monkey woke up at midnight last night, out of his swaddle, poop up to his neck, and very upset about the situation. This ruins his streak of sleeping through the night, although he went back to bed very easily after being changed and nursed. I really can’t blame him – waking up in a pool of crap would fuck my night up pretty good. Besides, it really wasn’t all that bad, just a bit of a shock to my system (for Monkey too, I’m sure).
This brought into perspective a blog post brought to my attention by Jason at the The Thoughtful Animal. In the post, Wray Herbert, a father himself, reviews a recent study indicating parenthood is idealized to help parents cope with the negative emotional and financial aspects of raising children. Mr. Herbert does a wonderful job describing the ins and outs of this study, so I won’t try to discuss it in any detail here. Suffice it to say that we, as parents, have created the “myth of joyful parenthood” to make us feel better about our decisions to have children.
While I find this study a bit annoying, I’ve also had a difficult time identifying the “good” parts of being a mother. Certainly seeing a smile from Monkey is rewarding, and I’m sure his developing personality will continue to bring Hubby and I joy. There’s also the tax break, which Hubby and I have discovered is nothing to sneeze at. But there’s no denying the fact that Monkey presents a financial, physical and emotional suckage from our lives. I’ve recently started taking pride in Monkey’s crapping ability – undoubtedly a means to alleviate the frustrations of caring for a young infant. After all, you can’t fully enjoy parenthood unless you find joy in the messier aspects.
As I was writing this post, Monkey woke up from his morning nap. The moment I got close enough to his crib for him to see me, his fussing turned to a huge smile. Yeah, there’s joy in this job, and it’s not just because of the tax benefit.