eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Monday, July 11

I'm OK, You're a Brat!

I found this book title pretty offensive. I've often learned interesting things from trying to understand how a person could come to have a view that seems so totally wrong, so I picked it up anyway.

I'm aware that some children have undesireable qualities, but I believe that to be the responsibility of their parents. Children aren't born knowing what it means to be a good person, they have to learn it and they need lots of help doing so. That mostly falls on the parents, so if someone's going to get called names for a child's behavior, it ought to be the parent.

I don't think people ought to generally be in the habit of labeling each other in this way, but that's beside the point here.

I was surprised a little by the contents - enough to actually pay the $2.48 at Half Price for it. It's been a while since I bought a book totally spontaneously. It was fun. Back to the point again, it started off talking about how incredibly hard parenting is. How no one really tells potential parents what to really expect.

I had been thinking that I would like to write such a book. I wanted to encourage people to think of parenting as a very very difficult job to do truly well and that there are a lot of other ways to be fulfilled. Having children shouldn't be necessary for having a complete and fulfilling life. It takes a lot of help and resources that parents don't always have. Of course, one could do the usual and make the best of it, but is that really best for making a better world? And isn't that what each of us wants? (Maybe that's a naive question).

I hadn't thought about whether anyone had warned me before I became a parent. My parents did a little. They suggested putting off parenting. But they also said how "it's all worth it". There are some great comments about this in the book.

I think you have to manage yourself very well, start off with especially good ideas and a good personality to come out honestly thinking that way. I think this could be learned too. I know a parent who is particularly enthusiastic and happy about being with his children and doesn't seem concerned about things he's given up to do this.

Anyway, I am curious to see the rest of the book. There seem to be sections on what parents who really do find it worthwhile do differently. I'm a firm believer that people can find joy in all sorts of situations. It's a bit difficult to see sometimes when one hasn't slept all night in a year or one is feeling more like a maid than a parent.

I'm almost reluctant to even write this much about it because to admit one probably should have made a choice other than to have children can be labeled "selfish" or as if it meant that one didn't love one's children.

It's not something personal about my children. I think they're really cool and interesting people and I love them. It's just sometimes I used to get stuck thinking about all the other cool and interesting people and ideas and contributions I could have made without setting myself up for a lifetime commitment. I don't think it's healthy to dwell on that lots, but I think it's good to be honest with oneself and others. I think, in fact, it's especially important for them to be aware, so they can make more informed choices about their lives than I did. If they have children, I hope they'll be much better prepared for it than I was.

I'll try to write more about the book after I've read it.


Anonymous said...

I recently went to see a play and met the woman who wrote this book. Not only was she offensive upon meeting, she proceeded to begin to shmooze with my mother and told my mother that having children was the biggest mistake of her life. She said how she went to school for three degree's attempting to get away from her kids. She then said that she convinced her kids never to have kids by telling them that having them ruined her life. She told us to google her book and thats how I found your blog. What a nut!

Becky said...

How tragic! What a devastating thing to tell a child!

That said, I can identify all too well with each and every feeling she mentioned. I was so unprepared to be a mother and, for a long time, felt very resentful about all the hopes and dreams I thought I'd lost. Fortunately, through a rather strange turn of events, my perspective has completely changed.

I suppose her book, in its own way, helped with that. Mostly, it did so by helping me realize that there are people who are able to take great joy in raising their children and to wonder, "If I knew what they knew, maybe I would find that sort of joy in my children too."

Amazingly, I was right. I don't know that I've figured it all out, but I've definitely got to the point where I can honestly say, I'm so glad that I have children and I think my life would have been shallow and pale and ... lifeless... without them.

If I could condense all I've learned since then, since I read her book, well, it'd make for a fantastic book. It's also a little too raw and personal, just yet, to share in a public blog.

I'd be interested in hearing more about this author and what she was speaking about - and what about this topic caught your interest. Please feel free to email me.

Anonymous said...

Life without kids is not shallow, pale and lifeless. However your life turns out, with kids or without, if you face the world with a positive joyful attitude, you'll have a great life. Kids neither ruin you nor fulfill you; you do. It took a while to figure this out.
By the way, I didn't have kids and it's too late now. I was afraid of being trapped in a limiting situation. I was also afraid I might be a rotten mother. I spent my fertile years getting over my disturbing childhood. Only now that I'm past menopause and it's no longer an issue, am I completely comfortable with children. I'm a pretty good step-grandma.