Friday, January 16, 2009

scaring new parents

My sister pointed me to this great blog post at the NYT Blog by Lisa Belkin. The reader wrote to ask why so many people feel it's necessary to jump in and overshare about horror stories of parenting when they hear she's pregnant. Belkin suggests that it's maybe more of an "initiation" or "welcome to the club" sentiment driving that kind of thing.

I agree with the blog reader as well as with Belkin. It's *more* than wearisome to have people say some variation of the tired old "You'll never sleep again!" or some such other encouraging tidbit. Especially when you're already pregnant (maybe even happy about it!), or seriously considering parenting, or on your way to pick up your adopted child. Why are people so tone deaf to their own rudeness sometimes? But Belkin might be right too, in suggesting that perhaps they're just trying to reach out in their own way.

But every parent (that I've met) processes the challenges of parenting differently. Not everyone sees it as some horrible thing to slog through. Some people like the work of it. Some people even think it's fun! rewarding! And even personally enriching- no martyr in sight.

I read the blog and wrote to my sister: "No one should be "afraid" of parenting, any more than they should fear trying to get a PhD, going for a CEO position, attempting to win an Olympic gold. It's hard work and completely rewarding. The only difference between parenting and those other things is that there's less compensation or rat-race recognition. :) "

And that is what I think of that.