Exodus 14:13: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" ..

Unhappy Parent?

Today I had brunch and lunch with a friend and we were lucky her mom was in the room and was able to watch the kid so we talked about lots of things including how every kid is just so different and how some parents are just lucky to have calm kids. Maybe I should borrow a leaf from my late mom’s parenting skills, it might work who knows? …she never allowed us to interrupt adult conversations, unless the incident involved blood.

So anyway, I am reading this article about unhappy helicopter parents, to sum it up, “She reviews the growing body of research that shows that children don’t make you happier, and during certain ages — younger than 6, from 12 to 15 — can make you less happy. And yet, we keep having them. Often more than one of them. The only way to reconcile these contradictory facts is to conclude that the unhappiness of day-to-day drudgery is offset by the genuine spikes of happiness from incandescent parenting moments”    For me, I know that there are obviously times when parenting is exhausting, but my husband and I, I think, try to keep things in perspective. We love time with our kids and have a lot of it, but also we make sure that we are still our own people who have friends and have our own interests. We make sure we have our individual time and as a couple, as well as being a family.

So when I read this article about unhappy helicopter parents, as described in the article, I think of those who refuse to let go and make being a parent their primary and sole identity. I believe it’s not healthy to define yourself exclusively in terms of somebody else (well, unless that somebody is God), or to never take a break from anything. I have figured out after taking a break that I am usually the ‘best’ parent in this world. I am sure that there are some people who view parenting as some competition or kids as a material good and so when they don’t win they feel unhappy, but majority of parents I know simply take parenting seriously because they want their kids to succeed, by became well-rounded and well-behaved kids who eventually become productive adults. Off course I do helicopter to some extent, with all the crazy things happening to kids in the news, I don’t want to think “I wish I was watching them closely, I wish I had even hovered more closely” also it’s just my nature to just be a nervous Nellie about certain things. Personally, I don’t look to my children to make me happy, and I think I am not alone out there. The rewards of parenting aren’t moments of personal happiness, but a long-term accomplishment and just the satisfaction and joy of knowing I might be making a real contribution to the next generations is enough to make me happy.

Also in the article it states that, “Many of the helicopter mothers I’ve spoken to have told me, often with pride in their voices, and that their daughters are their best friends.”  Truly I don’t know about my toddler and infant being my best friends –I just hope one day when they are older, they will claim me as a best friend.  Like the African wise saying, “parent now and friendship later!” I LOVE being a parent, and I’m a better parent when I can take a break from it every so often. Oh, I also hope to have grandkids so I don’t want to scare my kids to think that motherhood is such a lonely, exhausting chore!

Read the article:

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/unhappy-helicopter-parents/?sort=oldest&offset=2

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Comments on: "Unhappy Parent?" (4)

  1. Enjoyed the blog as always….I like the fact that you recognize your duties as a parent and at the same time still have your individual time…What an inspiration ! Keep it up !

    • Thank you Samira. Its not easy (parenting)…I am learning more the 2nd time around.
      Thank you for reading.
      NAncy

  2. Hee hee. . . agree! Mine have just been at grandma and grandpa’s for a week!!! So cute to hear their little voices on the phone, but I’m getting a lot of catching up and relaxing done!! Yeah, sorry, but Skyler is not my best friend! Maybe when she is a mommy herself someday. I have to say that the parents who say that. . . . usually have spoiled kids. 😦 Kids need to know their place in life, family, school, etc. They are not the all encompassing, important one wherever they go. They are kids for goodness sakes and need to behave like one! So, anyway, enjoyed the blog Nancy! 🙂

  3. What an interesting article and response! I struggle a lot with maintaining an identity outside of motherhood, something I’ve written about here: http://www.merelymothers.com/2012/03/08/if-not-a-mother-who-am-i/.

    Judging from the conversations I’ve had with other moms of young children, these are difficult years, but I definitely agree with the statement that “the unhappiness of day-to-day drudgery is offset by the genuine spikes of happiness from incandescent parenting moments.” That’s what it’s all about!

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