Joys of Motherhood

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.


4 thoughts on “Joys of Motherhood

  1. I've got my preschooler home with me for a special mother-daughter day, so I don't have time to go read the post or the study (I only have this short break because it is potty break time, and I am required to stay close but not TOO close). But I wanted to tell you that different parents enjoy different phases. I didn't really start enjoying parenthood that much until Pumpkin was an older baby- maybe about 9 months old? I enjoyed Petunia's young babyhood more, but even so, I definitely like toddlerhood better than babyhood.

    So I guess I'm saying- it is OK not to think it is heaps of fun to clean up a poop-covered baby!

  2. Studies like that are a huge part of what turned me off to psychological research. What is the point of it? What benefit does it serve? Does it better humankind in any way? Who the fuck PAYS for research like that?


    The most useful, somewhat-related bit of research I have come across was in the happiness or positive psychology branch that showed the belief that having children makes a person happier is a myth. They found that people who had children were no happier than people without children, controlling for personal choice.

    Also included in that body of work was the finding that the myth that married people are happier is also false. Turns out that married MEN are happier, but married women are LESS happy than their single counterparts. LOL. I betcha won't be reading THAT on the front page anytime soon!

  3. Pingback: Twelve Months of The Tightrope | The Tightrope

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