Saturday, October 08, 2011

Hard to blog

It is hard to blog these days. I don't want to write about my baby because nobody really cares except for me, but my whole life revolves around her right now. I could write about my emotions regarding the changes that have occurred since her coming, but in print it sounds so depressing and awful when reality is not. Oh well. Here goes anyway. While I was pregnant I read an article about studies relating to the happiness of women with and without children. The article said that studies routinely concluded that women without children were happier than women with children. It was too late for me (even though I had a inkling that might be true before I embarked on this crazy journey that has no escape route). However, women with children fiercly protest that they are happier because they had children and many women without children believe they would be happier if they had had children. The whole thing is screwy and if we had an acurate way to measure happiness we could know "the truth." In the meantime I've had a child. The verdict is still out (and may always be) whether I feel more or less happy. I love my little girl endlessly, but life has become much more complicated since she arrived. My marriage is certainly not what it used to be. I never play my violin anymore. I'm exhausted nearly all the time. I'm more resentful, more lonely, less productive, more apt to veg in front of the T.V., more likely to read an "easy read" (if I get a minute to do so) than delve into great literature, more disorganized, live in more clutter, dread things I used to love like cooking, going for a run, or shopping. (I told you it all sounds like such a downer in print. (Hence the study findings?)) Yet here is this sweet angel that I get to hold in my arms, who needs me, responds with unadulterated glee at the sight of me, who reaches out to me and puts her little lips on my cheek to give me kisses. Very little of these turns of events was unexpected. The biggest surprise about having a baby so far (besides childbirth itself) is how little men do when it comes to baby. Oh, how little men do.*

*I realize this is a massive generalization, but there was a recent study to back it up. The study found that men who think that baby duties should be split between men and women spend on average just 4 more minutes a day with baby then men who think it's women's work. Just sayin'.


Posted by Picasa


Kimi said...

I believe it's true that men who believe in sharing baby duties spend only four more minutes a day then men that think it's women's work. I am Elise's interpreter. Ryan often doesn't know what she wants or says. He gets scared when I'm going to leave them alone. I teach him a little more everyday and he does great now when he's got to put her to bed or feeding her. But when she was a baby it was harder for him to clue in on what he should do with her.
The happiness thing I don't know about. It was hard her first year. You don't get out of the house much, you feel crappy all the time from sleep deprivation, babies hardly respond, you are busy all the time and feel like you have little to no time for yourself or spouse. However, I LOVE when she says thank you on her own, smiles and giggles, gives me hugs without asking, and blows kisses to say good bye. She makes me laugh and makes me cry. I'm proud to be her mom. Raising her is the best thing I could do with my time. I don't feel bad watching seasame street, or reading what I can or even napping. I find joy in it. Happiness is more a choice than it is a state of being.

Cory & Alli said...

You know what helps me MOST about the downsides of being a stay-at-home mom? Relating to other mommas! Seriously, hearing you and others talk about motherhood realistically is refreshing and makes those tough times...not so tough!

Breanne said...

Hi Mary =)
I call it "Motherhood Heroin" because I think having a baby is like having a drug addiction. There are periods of such high highs, I'm sooooo happy when she throws her little arms around my neck and lays her head on my shoulder. But then later I go through "withdrawals" where I'm exhausted and cranky and feeling trapped (sometimes lethargic), wondering when I can get my next "fix."
I also think every woman has a different experience. My daughter's first year was actually the happiest year of my life, and then when she turned one it got really hard. But I know for other people the newborn stage is the hardest and then it gets easier as they get older.
I think one thing that has helped me is working part-time. Michael takes care of Jane while I'm at work and I get a few hours out of the house each week that are really rewarding. I think if I didn't work I'd have to take a few community classes each season or something so I could keep getting out of the house.

HM said...

LOL, oh how true. And it only gets harder as they get older and you get pregnant again. I must agree with Kimi, happiness is definitely a choice most of the time. I tell my kids that and frequently have to remind myself as well.
Parenting is a different kind of happiness than the childless kind and I imagine it's a more deep and complex joy than the childless joys of life. No doubt, being a mom is hard work, probably the hardest in this life! But we all enjoy something much more if we have to work hard for it. I try to teach that to my kids as well........maybe I'm making it all up but that's also part of parenting right? :)

Tonya said...

i guess the real question is what was the study's measure of happiness? I know that I may not be as bubbly and free as I was when chidless, but I also know I have more joy because of my know - that deep sense of 'my life is worth something, I have something/someone to live for' quiet peace that pairs nicely with the stress and exasperation of raising kids ;)It does get better as they get older (I promise!) you have more time to do stuff for you - go to the gym, get a manicure, join a bookclub...those first yrs are definitely the hardest <3