On the Contrary, I Love My Children. I Love My Life.

A recent article published in New York magazine, I Love My Children.  I Hate My Life, was featured on the Today Show this morning.

 

After raising a family for almost a decade and organizing a moms group for several years, I can empathize with that statement and I understand why many parents would make such a claim.  After reading the New York magazine article, I also understand how statistics support such a statement.

 

Some couples would tell you they had children to complete their lives.  For many married couples, it’s the next logical step.

 

From a young age, my mom brainwashed my sister and I with the rules of life.  According to our mom, the road to life had to be followed in this order:

  1. Go to college.
  2. Get a job.
  3. Get married.
  4. Have children.

 

Shortly after I landed a teaching job, I met my husband.  Four years later we got hitched and two years later we began our family.  At that point, I had been teaching for 7 years and I was ready to transition into my new job as a stay at home mom.

 

With the birth of my first daughter, I was reduced from a professional to an underpaid nursemaid/nanny and I lost contact with my former life.  Like many mistaken parents, I thought my life would be filled with sunshine and rainbows with the arrival of a new baby.  I quickly learned the quite the opposite was true.  I felt trapped by my newborn and although I was never diagnosed by a professional, I believe I suffered from postpartum depression.

Thankfully, I recognized the miserable state I was in and sought out professional help.  For about 6 months, I started seeing a therapist bi-weekly and I began to feel like my old self again.  During that first year, I also developed friendships with other moms through a local moms group.  I found support and I discovered I wasn’t alone in my miserable motherhood pit.  With the aid of some wonderful friends, I learned how to survive the struggles of motherhood and realized I needed to take one day at a time.  My motherhood experience would be measured in brief and random moments of happiness and I had to be prepared for the not- so- great moments too.

Three years later, I felt ready to face another newborn and any postpartum I would suffer again.  Thankfully, the second time around I didn’t experience any baby blues, which I believe can be attributed to my wonderful friends and support system in place.

 

Now, with anticipating arrival of baby #3, I find myself worrying once again over balancing homework, extracurricular activities, housework and all the other responsibilities that come with raising a family.  Sure I’m scared, but I’m happy.  I would much rather change diapers again and create a happy home than create lesson plans.  This is where I want to be.

In nearly nine years as a SAHM, I have learned that happiness doesn’t come from external factors, but truthfully, I think I knew that all along.  There’s never enough money.  Accumulating more stuff can fill my house but it can’t fill my happiness.  And I certainly can’t expect my children to be responsible for my happiness.  I have to find my own happiness within myself.

 

In this crazy, busy world of SAHM, I can never punch out, but I can find my own happy hour.  If I was still in the working world outside the home, I would get hour long lunch breaks and 15 minute breaks, but even SAHM need breaks.  When my girls were younger, I used nap time as a time to recharge and distress.  A few years later, I discovered running to be my true happy hour.

 

No doubt children provide immeasurable joy, but even with all that joy, children can be a burden on a marriage.  Therefore, my husband and I understand the importance of plugging into our marriage to maintain a happy marriage and date nights are one way we recharge our marriage.  By abandoning our parental duties for a few hours, we rekindle those euphoric feelings that started it all fifteen years ago.

 

Also, many of our daily conversations revolve around other topics besides the kids, the house or meals.  We’ll share opinions on life, news, politics and religion just like we did before kids.   By doing this, we see each other as equals and I find an outlet for stimulating conversations.  Intelligent and meaningful conservation keeps both of us happy.

 

Perhaps my pleasure results from the simplicity of my life.  I get great joy saving $20 from coupons at the supermarket.  I love lying in bed watching movies with my girls.  I swell with pride with each developmental milestone.  I enjoy prancing off to play dates.

 

Of course, I’m unhappy when my girls fight or throw temper tantrums and I’m miserable when my house is cluttered and needs to be tidied.  But clean or dirty, a house filled with children makes me happy.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

I love my children.  I love my life.

 

***This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer WorkshopChoose a headline from The Today Show website and write up an opinion post based on the story you chose.

Mama's Losin' It

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16 thoughts on “On the Contrary, I Love My Children. I Love My Life.

  1. Omg, I so identify with what you wrote. No one tells you that there will be periods in motherhood when you’ll wonder WTH but you will survive and get to the joy. The thing is you have to have an outlet and take time for yourself (recharge your batteries, so to speak). Sometimes that means sitting in the bathroom with a magazine for a few minutes or walking out onto the porch to catch some fresh air while the kids nap. After all, if mama’s happy, everyone is happy.

  2. Funny, my mom always told us having kids ruined your life. I never wanted to have them. I got prego the first time by accident. So when it turned out my daughter was awesome, and in no way ruined my life I was able to really enjoy her. I never held that idea that my life revolved around my children, and I have always firmly believed that I am just here to guide them into their own lives, but not give up my own, or try to turn them into me. A few say that is great, some say I’m selfish. But all I know is that my daughters are amazing people. Well behaved, caring, kind, and loving. So I must be dong something right.

    This was a great post. Thanks for linking the article. Very interesting.

    And hope all goes well with #3!

  3. Seriously, great writing! I too believe I had post partum depression and it wasn’t until my marriage was on a brink of a divorce 3 years later after our son was born that our marriage counselor pointed out that I might had post PPD. From her (the counselor) I had learn a lot and it has help be tremendously to know I too need a time out once in awhile and it’s not selfish to do that.

  4. I stayed at home with my children. They’re now 20, 17, and 15. Honestly, there were days I loved my life and days I wanted to run away and never come back.

  5. Oh my – I totally echo what you are saying. I have always worked but from the home. (My main office is in Des Moine Iowa and I’m in Rhode Island)
    I am a magazine editor for Better Homes & Gardens and I produce photo shoots so where I would be gone for a couple of days on location, which was easier than being home with three kids, I would do my office work at home when the kids were in school or asleep. Crazy and exhausting? I loved it all. Because I was home most of the time, my family is pretty close knit and now, 22, 20 and 18 – they are each others best friends.
    What suffers when you do ‘it all’? The housework. Too bad!

  6. I’m stopping by from the Lady Bloggers Society Tea – first time I’m trying it.

    So glad I found you and this great post. It’s very well written and really spoke to me. I also then took some time to read the New York Mag article.

    I think you have it right – parenting is hard, but you just need to focus on small pleasures, remember you are in charge of your happiness, and remember time alone with hubby is important.

    I’m still really early on in parenthood (our first is just nine months). I hope I have it as together as you seem to when she’s older.

    All the best!

  7. Hi! I’m coming over to visit on my very first Lady Blogger’s Tea Party.

    I am a mom of 3 girls, all teenagers, and I will honestly say there have been times where I could only stand there on the beastliest of days and shriek, “I hate my life!”

    But what I meant was, I hated that moment in my life.

    Yes, we have had our fair share of tears and chaos and sass. (A lot of sass. Girls excel at it.) But the moments of utter joy far outweigh the bad. It is the most selfless and difficult thing I’ve ever done, but my husband and girls are the shiniest part of my life and I wouldn’t take back a moment of any of it. (Well, maybe the time my toddler ate poop, but the rest of it, no.)

    Nice to meet you. I’ll be back.

  8. I love your honesty.
    I too swell with pride over each milestone, and the milestones keep happening all through life, so that’s kind of nice.
    Being a happy, centered, level-headed mommy is a beautiful thing. I know from experience!

  9. So happy to find your blog! I am visiting from the Tea Party and just love your honesty! Happy to meet you and looking forwrad to reading more!

  10. Ummm did you have me in mind when you wrote this? I think you just about stole my life. I guess I’m finding out more and more that this is how sooooooooo many mommy’s out there feel.
    I loved being a SAHM for about 2 months and then I hated it. Hated it. And I’m finally figuring out that I had PPD pretty bad.
    Noone should ever want to cry ever time their children do (which was ALL THE TIME).
    I started back to work and now I HATE IT. I want to be home with my girls all day. Maybe I have Work Depression? LOL.
    Thank you for all your honesty!

  11. Hi there,
    stopping by from the Tea Party. Such a great post. I connected with so many of the things you said about motherhood. Good luck with number 3.
    Lisa

  12. This was very well writen! When I read the oriinal article it ruffled my feathers. I love being a mom. Of course being a mom is hard (have a special needs child multiplies that) and thought that MOST parents are unhappy because they have kids seems ridiculous. Everyone gets unhappy about something at some point in their lives, right? And, I’d just like to say bravo to you for reconizing your depression and seeking help! Stopping by from SITS.
    Much love!

  13. great post.

    It really is so important to work at it. I love that you and your husband make a point of talking about things other than just the kids. I find that if that is all that we are talking about we get frustrated with one another and forget that it was us that made the family happen.

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