Every time I have a conversation with other European parents, I notice how they only focus on the negative. How parenting seems such a burden and how their kids - to them - are such brats.
I strikes me how few positive things these parents say about their kids, and when they do, it is often followed by a 'but' that annihilates anything great they might have said about their child in the words prior to that.
It makes me wonder what brings on this negative thinking about parenting and children.
Is it because they don't want to brag about their children. Is it because Western culture has tricked people into believeing that parenting is hard work, a job. Is it because we have become so individualised we can't see joy in sharing our space, time and ressources?
If they really think it is such a burden to be a parent, then why do they have children in the first place, most often even more than one? In our western world most children are planned, and even badly desired. Then why bitch about them all the time.
Nobody forces people to have kids. There might be a cultural expectation of couples to have children (and preferably two), but that doesn't mean one cannot escape this paradigm. And if after one child, you are really baffled about the extent of 'work' it is, or find out you don't like being a parent, why then have another child?
I can understand parents sometimes have the need to vent a little, to commiserate, some days really are hard and it can be exhausting to parent in the kind of society we live in, where we have to do everything alone. But there are joys to parenthood too, and I bet even the most whining parent loves their child dearly.
So for today: a little exercise: whenever you catch yourself talking about your children, investigate what you say. Avoid the negative. Do this often enough and you might even find yourself enjoying this parenting gig.
Image: Quinn.Anya on Flickr