Saturday, October 10, 2009


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.


  1. I really think that is a rather negative view of something that is so special and can bring you closer to your husband as you build your family. As far as friends and others go, the real ones understand the change in lifestyle required once kids are around, and those that don't may understand one day, but it's not your problem to worry about. If you surround yourself with the right people, it won't be a problem. I guess you need to think about the parents around you that you do know and think about how they live their lives, who they're still friends with and whether they only talk about their kids or can talk about other interesting things in the world (and whether you've even noticed and it's bothered you or not).
    Long story short - this is one of the most important stages of your life and, yes, there are some negative points but they are far outweighed by the positive. It's all a matter of choice which is no different when you don't have kids.

  2. Hi, thanks for comment. I just had a night in with friends last night, one couple who have twins included. This reminded me that, yes, my friends with kids haven't turned all mummy brain on me, but also that all of us enjoy hearing about their kids too. You're right about choice, and I think it's about balance too.

  3. Hi Kylie,

    So much to say about this. I think I've said before that the fact you're even thinking about this means you're soooo much further ahead than most out there. I gotta tell you that I had no idea just how much my life would change after the bebito - how much I wanted to change it and make him the central priority. The balance is by far the hardest thing - particularly when babes are little - I feel myself pulled in so many different directions.

    I think if you're honest with your loved ones and bring them along on the journey of parenthood with you they'll be there with you every step of the way - with or without children. Having said that it's a great way to re-prioritise exactly who and what is important to you.

    Some days you'll feel like you've got it nailed and others, you'll feel like you haven't a clue in the world as to what direction to go but it's still the most amazing thing to ever happen - to have this child grow within and then watch them become their own little person.

    I totally understand where you're coming from and all that you "fear" is part of the process of becoming the parent and woman you want to be.


    ps. thanks for the award, trying to work (marking - boo!) so not going to blog today but wanted to reply to your post.


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