I love podcasts. I listen to podcasts while doing housework, cooking, blow-drying my hair, gardening, driving… and it keeps me going, it makes the time fly. Recently I have been on a lovely trip down the interweb rabbit hole, spurred on by Planning with Kids post about parenting podcasts.
Something that I’m just going to throw out there, which I just heard while doing some baking (more on that later), is this:
“If you love your kids, if you do your job right, you’re setting yourself up for an unrequited passion. Your kids grow up and leave you behind, and create a life with someone else that becomes their priority….. if that’s the best possible outcome [of being a good parent], that you end up sitting by the phone leaving ever more plaintive messages, there is a bittersweet quality to that.”
loosely quoted from Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, And Occasional Moments of Grace. The same woman who once stirred up a big ol’ pot when she wrote an essay including the proclamation that “I love my husband more than I love my children.”
Applying my own Rorschach test response to this podcast, follow me if you will, as I blather on a bit….
As time marches on to the arrival on my own child in the world I often contemplate how this new chapter in my life will change my relationships with those that I love around me. I am scared of losing touch with friends who don’t have children, and of becoming a mummy-brain, who can’t find anything else interesting to talk about. However, I do consider this new role that I’m taking on, as a mother, to be a hugely important responsibility.
I once had a friend share with me her disdain for parents who become so obsessed with their children, and have no life outside of their children. My response at the time was to point out that I am more incensed by people who choose to have children but make no room for them in their lives. People who always put themselves before the needs of their children.
I believe that if you are choosing to have a child, you are choosing to always put yourself second.
I wonder, am I setting myself up for failure? Is this belief going to lead to a loveless marriage, a dwindling circle of friends and, as discussed in the podcast, a child who feels enormous pressure to live up to mummy’s expectations? I’d love to hear your thoughts.