Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why Parent

It's six o'clock in the morning and I am awake. Apparently Waleed thought six am was a perfectly reasonable time to be up for the day. [well 5:45 but who's counting?] After a busy nights of wakings I type these words with a cup of tea and bleary eyes and remember an article that sparked great amounts of controversy about parenting and the research showing that happiness, as measured by parents, on a daily basis is substantially lower than those who are not parents. As I sit here [and then stand to run over and prevent him from chewing on a wire, or my shoe, or climbing an unsafe pillow structure] I am tired. I am sleepy. I am worried this early morning rising might become a new routine. And whether a play yard might be limiting or empowering. And whether the apple sauce I made can defrost in time. And. And. And. I don't sound too happy do I?

My life has changed a lot since having Waleed. I can't just hop into the car and go somewhere as I once did. I have post-baby pounds to lose. Our yearly vacation has been otherwise used up. I don't sleep like I once did. I wipe up baby poop and snot and spit up. And every other obvious observation of motherhood you can imagine.

So based on the research, the empirical data objectively? Why parent? Logically, it makes no sense. Our bank account will take a hit- college, weddings, cars, clothing- expenses pile up with children. As do sleepless nights. And poopy diapers. And rushed trips to doctor's offices. And then the tantrums. And the arguments. And the worry. And the wondering what will happen to that career you worked so hard to create. And unlike most other things in life, your kids are there forever- there is no return policy- no dropping out. So why do it? For the cuddles, the kisses?  You can cuddle a puppy and watch them do cute stunts minus the college savings account, and demands to have your car keys at some distant point in the future. And yet dog-owners often become parents too. So why? Why do people desire parenthood?

The interesting thing is that even though in the writing of this post I have rescued a shoe from my son's mouth approximately seven times, and slept approximately three hours last night, and am up at the ungodly hour of six am. . . I wouldn't rather be anyplace but here following my son as he tries to deconstruct the house, and my cerebral membrane.

I love it. I love being a parent. I love the messy parts of it, the ugly parts of it, the beautiful parts of it. Why? I don't know. I can't objectively tell you why, but its the truth. I love my husband deeply, but that does not mean we sat and gazed at each other in adoration every day of our marriage. I love my parents but there were certainly, ahem, points of contention growing up. That's life, that's relationships, that's people- they require effort, investment, and sometimes its not fun- sometimes its difficult, but that doesn't mean you wish you did not have them in your life.

Happiness is different from love. I expected this to be hard. I didn't think I'd grin and spring from bed at 3am for a night feeding. I never held illusions otherwise. I never did this for a never-ending high. And yet there was nothing I wanted more. And now? There is no place else I'd rather be. And maybe like this article said, as parents we're the biggest addicts out there, hooked on those small moments of transcendent joy, those brief glimpses of heaven in his smile, or his laugh- like junkies. I'm not sure but I am okay with not knowing the answer to that. This is hard. This is wonderful. This is sleep-depriving. And soul-building. I love him. I am grateful.

Now pardon me while I get myself that second cup of tea.

15 comments:

renee said...

so ready for number 2? lol. :-) Motherhood definately is a roller coaster ride.

Jen said...

thanks for the honesty!

sprogblogger said...

Yes. Yes to it all! (And Radical Homemakers has been on my Christmas list since it was first published! I've read a couple of chapters, standing in the bookstore, & I WANT!)

Anonymous said...

Awww... Be blessed, girl! (IA)
Sometimes I sooo wana to tell you how I feel...
Being a parent; the want, the need...
Ummm well, I need some decently made chai too.
:)
A.

Aisha said...

Renee, lol I am sure it only gets more roller coaster ish! :)

Jen, thanks :)

Susan, glad you can relate :) And RH is seriously a good book- I could see you reading it for sure. That and Momma Zen.

A, tell me how you feel, I here to listen if you want :)

Anonymous said...

Aisha, I found this post to be quite honest and insightful. Lately I have been noticing a trend in cities where women (and couples) are choosing not to have kids -- obviously not new but I've never been able to speak to them directly until this year. I really found their reasoning to be still quite selfish. It was about how they didn't think having kids was for everyone (even though most are wealthy medical professionals, not crack addicts), they didn't want to disturb their career it lifestyle, or didn't want to transfer their own upbringing with it's faults onto another generation.

I really have a hard time empathizing with these ppl; especially because they are the ones who make my job as a working mom pure hell. I would love for them to spend a day in my shoes to see how "professional" they would be at work if they woke up at night three times with a sick child.

So I think that having kids is good for every RESPONSIBLE citizen on this earth. It helps you as an adult to become more mature, kind, and empathetic to everyone around you. It makes you patient, and eliminates a great deal of self-centered behavior that we are all now taught to believe is ok. It makes us identify with people all over the globe who are mothers and fathers just like us.

Great job :) Hajar

Banshee said...

Love this post! And I totally agree and have pondered the same thing. Logically....it doesn't really make sense does it? And yet...and how...when I remember life without Wiggles it doesn't seem as full. For sure.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the food for thought with this one

Aisha said...

Salaam Hajar :) Nice to hear you- I read your comment with complete fascination- as someone who really wanted children its hard to imagine not wanting children, and I'm sorry that you have to work with people who are not sympathetic to the fat that you have children and your goals, and needs, etc ay differ from their own if they are choosing not to have children. Kids are such a blessing- the love and the things they teahc you as you pointed out is priceless. I do think though that if someone doesn't want to have kids they shouldnt. Theyr eally really shouldnt because its just not fair to the kid. A kid is such a blessing, and if people don't want it they shouldn't. I can believe that parenthood isn't for everyone- and its best that if they don't think its for them, that they not have kids who should never ever feel unwanted or getting in the way. What do you think?

Banshee- lol, life w/out wiggles, that made me smile! Its amazing isn't it??? Glad you can relate.

Anon- welcome, glad it was insightful for you :)

iamstacey said...

I read that article, too, and it pops into my mind from time to time. I have a feeling I'm going to be glad I made this choice, like you!

Aysh said...

*Raises right hand* I relate. Just when I was sure I couldn'ttake it no morewith my first troublesome two...I found I wa expecting my second...and know what? Oh, now I juggle quite well!:D

Aisha said...

Stacey- you are the type of person that would be grateful for everything in their life as is- and I KNOW you will be a great mom and glad for your choice :0)

Ayesh, lol glad you can relate Aysh! I guess you get used to it :0) Thanks for your comment!

kmina said...

I read a similar article in the UK papers some time ago and I found nothing to relate with in that. Even with a 'high needs' child, I am still having the time of my life and loving every minute of it. I guess I am just the kind of person who would rather be up soothing a child than be up wondering where my life has gone. Yeah, call me conservative, old fashion, whatever, I truly think that motherhood defines me. I know not every woman thinks like me, but each has their own life to live and I am so very happy with mine. I am trying to reset statistical numbers, but I am surely lucky I am on this side of the fence, where the grass is greener and the sun shinier - heck, I've gotten to see it rise every single day for the last 4 months, so I know just how shiny it is. ;-)

Jamila said...

Awesome post. I wish I had something more witty or interesting, but I am in dire need of a nap. I too was up at 6am. The joys of parenthood. :)

Aisha said...

Kmina- interesting- I think you should read a book I'm reading called "Radical Homemakers" it kind of speaks tp eople like you and me, women who are educated and staying home to care for theri family and children- its a very empowering book! LOL You poor dear- lets hope ou don't have to see the sun rise for tooooo much longer!

Jamila :( That sucks! I thought she was a good sleeper! Insh'Allah!

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you!