I also think that we’re framing parenthood, in this micro conversation—but really possibly in our greater cultural conversation right now—as something that’s primarily hard and tiring. That’s absolutely the lens I was given to look at it with, and it was terrifying. What I’ve found in the last year and a half is that for me, it’s totally the wrong lens. Like TOTALLY the wrong lens. For me, it’s this earth exploding joy machine, that yeah, makes me tired sometimes. But I’m still operating in a culture that mostly treats kids as a nuisance, not a joy. Which sucks. And isn’t universal (I learned when traveling).
This excerpt from a comment posted by Meg Keene, the Editor in Chief, in a discussion-in-the-comments about the choice to have kids really resonated for me.
I am so easily swept along by the cultural narrative, and the easy, canned responses to the typical questions: it makes conversation polite and simple, and I don’t risk an awkward situation where someone basically asked a question on autopilot not expecting a real response. I hate those moments of discordance. The risk though, is that the culturally-accepted patter starts to dominate and you miss out on the opportunity to develop real and deep connections. But I don’t know how to answer quickly, without sounding pompous or insincere, that our life doesn’t resemble a chaotic sitcom version of young parents with a baby.
She is the most fun ever, and although it’s work, taking care of her doesn’t feel like a chore or drudgery. Perhaps that’s because we share the labor with daycare, so each individual day we have a balance of work related to the baby and work related to commerce. And our lovely daycare providers have a balance of work related to the baby and work related to their school, their families and whatever else they feel like doing. So, we spread the work but even when we don’t, on weekends and vacations, it’s thrilling and enervating to guide her days. It’s not just drudgery in exchange for a few moments of hugs and communication. It’s joy.