Babies Are Overrated

I probably shouldn\'t say this, but...As I watch my daughter raising her own daughter, I wonder where she learned how. She certainly didn’t get her patience from me. The stuff she enjoys most about parenting is the stuff that drove me crazy.

My granddaughter is three now, and only in the last few months have I started to really appreciate being around her for more than an hour or so. Appalling as it sounds, I felt the same way about my own kids.

This isn’t something I’m proud of, but it’s true. And now that I’ve had the privilege of observing my daughter’s relationship with her own child (sort of like watching post-game highlights from the comfort of the couch) I can actually admit that.

I detested the tyrannical eating and sleeping schedules, the equipment that had to be lugged everywhere, the endless negotiating (“No! I don’t want to!”), the tears, the whining, the ear-splitting shrieks (joyful or not), the infuriating toys, the constant mess, and the inescapable feeling that if anything bad happened I was responsible. I hated the guilt, the second-guessing, and the pressure of raising well-adjusted, happy humans when I believed that one bad decision could wreck the kid for life.

Most of all, I resented the one-sidedness during those first of years. It was a relentless cycle of give, give, give. I knew there was something wrong with me: only a bad person could think her own kids were selfish, ungrateful and a roadblock to her own happiness.

I told myself that everything would have been different if I’d waited before having my first child (I was barely 26). Or if we’d had more money. Or if I’d had better parents. Or if I’d never had kids at all. (Neither child was planned.)

Then the kids started to talk and everything changed. They turned into real little humans. We spoke the same language.

Thirty years later, thanks to my daughter, I view things very differently. Certainly, there’s a lot I could have done better. But when I see the lovely people my children have become I am awed by the resilience and power of the parental bond. I also realize that some people are better with older kids than babies, and I’m one of them. Thank heaven we all survived.



9 Comments

  1. Khushi

    You know, strangely enough I feel as they are growing, the kids are moving away from me. But its great to hear your perspective from many years later as that is probably the clearest view.

  2. Anonymous

    I am with you – the untold secret of new moms.

  3. Anonymous

    I think I am like you too..I hate it when they cry or whine..Strangley my 9 year old boy and I are getting much closer..My 3 year old girl still cries ,whines and wants EVERYTHING!!!…I love her but I dont like it at all..

  4. sands

    Mimo, I don’t think you are different than any mom out there in your feelings. The only way you are different is how honest you are about it. Moms are under so much pressure to be of certain type from all around that its hard for them to admit the negative feelings in front of others. If you get a chance read my post at sandhyas.blogspot.com/2008/07/spending-zestful-days-with-my.html

  5. Tana

    Mimo, I find your post very refreshing. Personally, I have always said of my own parents that they are great parents of adults and were awful parents of little children. I am sure my mother could identify with you, if she could be as honest with herself. Bravo!

  6. mimi

    like reading your post.i have a very enjoyable relationship wiyh my baby daughter or rather all the little kids of my house.but as they grow old they became distant.though after so many years i can see they are more perfect about bringing up their child.i read spock but didn,t follow it rather went by my emotionbut they are so loyal to their books

  7. zeenia

    My biggest fear was am I being a good mother ? Is it normal to feel like running away ? It is really nice to read your honest post.

  8. Asha A

    Very honest perspective. I am looking forward to you opening up more discussions on topics we dont talk about.

  9. Amrita

    Waiting for your next post!

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