Is parenting like a drug?
Slate offers an interesting theory on parenting. We are junkies.
But when parents think about parenting, they don't remember the background stress. They remember the cuddle and the kiss. Parenting is a series of intensely high highs, followed by long periods of frustration and stress, during which you go to great lengths to find your way back to that sofa and that kiss.
We have a name for people who pursue rare moments of bliss at the expense of their wallets and their social and professional relationships: addicts.
Children regularly give parents the kind of highs that only narcotics can rival. The unpredictability of those moments of bliss is an important factor in their addictiveness.
Interesting take. I know I was irritated by the studies and stories that almost gleefully reported how unhappy parents are. Evidence has shown it makes people less happy, that marriages suffer. This opened the door for the happily child-free, who love to disparage parents as selfish "breeders." What I think the studies keep missing is the depth of purpose, how rewarding it can feel in the end. But it's hard to remember that when you've got 10 loads of laundry and a kid puking on you.
So maybe we are just junkies, looking for that fix when all is right with world and a little boy just wants to curl on your lap while you read him a story.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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