My own mother describes the feeling of claustrophobia she often felt in bringing up children. She is fond of quoting Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke: “Stop feeding offa me!” More to the point, and more than a little annoyingly, she offers up this anecdote any time I voice a complaint regarding my life as wife and mother.
I don’t find my family claustrophobic. I allow my husband, my family, and many of my friends full license in their part of bringing my children up in this world. I have set boundaries in raising them, and in turn those boundaries have been ever-shifting depending on the needs and wiles my brood displays. But even as at times I find the responsibility of children difficult, I have always found it a cop-out when parents bitch about their kids – especially in front of them (silent prayer: Lord, may I remember this tenet of parent-child respectful relations as they get older and more creative at being a pain in the arse!) simply because the burden and joys of raising children is one that parents undertake of their own free will. How lousy to bring them into this world and spend your time belittling them.
Don’t get me wrong. Bitching about your children is necessary at many times in the journey together. I think there are appropriate places to vent – commonly, spouses and trusted friends. In my case I do it here, on a public website, simply because the little shits can’t read yet. But already my husband and I try to deal on a professional level with them in the moment and then after, amongst ourselves, voice the feelings of disappointment or anger. Yeah, I know – an impossible ideal to keep; or at least, so say the parents who have long ago given into the temptation of being snotty to their kids.
Kids are a lot of work. If you don’t put the effort in early, you end up posting their bail later. Or something to that effect. I think I – and other breeders – should be allowed to talk about our difficulties without it being assumed something is wrong with how we parent, or worse, being told we shouldn’t have had them at all. After all, if I was in a 9 to 5 professional vocation and complained about the tough – yet rewarding – workload, this would be accepted as the cost for a worthy career. I would like to believe raising happy, healthy children is at least as important as kissing boss’s ass all day in order to earn the car payment.
Mother’s Day tomorrow – and much love to Mamas out there!