I Love My Children — I Hate My Life

Photo: Jessica Todd Harper

Photo: Jessica Todd Harper

Jennifer Senior writes in New York magazine:

There was a day a few weeks ago when I found my 2½-year-old son sitting on our building doorstep, waiting for me to come home. He spotted me as I was rounding the corner, and the scene that followed was one of inexpressible loveliness, right out of the movie I’d played to myself before actually having a child, with him popping out of his babysitter’s arms and barreling down the street to greet me.

This happy moment, though, was about to be cut short, and in retrospect felt more like a tranquil lull in a slasher film. When I opened our apartment door, I discovered that my son had broken part of the wooden parking garage I’d spent about an hour assembling that morning.

This wouldn’t have been a problem per se, except that as I attempted to fix it, he grew impatient and began throwing its various parts at the walls, with one plank very narrowly missing my eye. I recited the rules of the house (no throwing, no hitting). He picked up another large wooden plank. I ducked. He reached for the screwdriver. The scene ended with a time-out in his crib.

As I shuffled back to the living room, I thought of something a friend once said about the Children’s Museum of Manhattan — “a nice place, but what it really needs is a bar” — and rued how, at that moment, the same thing could be said of my apartment. Two hundred and 40 seconds earlier, I’d been in a state of pair-bonded bliss; now I was guided by nerves, trawling the cabinets for alcohol.

My emotional life looks a lot like this these days. I suspect it does for many parents — a high-amplitude, high-frequency sine curve along which we get the privilege of doing hourly surfs. Yet it’s something most of us choose. Indeed, it’s something most of us would say we’d be miserable without.

Read More in New York magazine

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  • justagirl

    motherhood –
    18 hours of labor only to find that it will not pass through the “canal” (and you skipped that chapter of “everything you need to know about childbirth”).
    falling asleep on the toilet with a crying baby in your arms.
    you just got whacked over the head with the golf club that GRANDPA bought for the 1 year old – while you were ACCIDENTALLY napping.
    18 months, and you finally got a full nights sleep.
    doctors think a v-bac is best and only 1 in 10,000 women will have “baby-hulk” burst through the scar on your uterus… and deny meds when you know something’s wrong… really, really wrong.
    baby has his own file at poison control.
    baby needs staples in his scalp and they decide it’s a good time for the INTERN to learn how.
    anyway, the list goes on and on, and on, and on…
    LADY, if you dodged the god damn wooden plank, consider yourself gifted.

  • Iguana_man3

    hmm disinformation or just really random postingm, you decide.

  • Cerebralcaustic

    Save yourself the trouble of reading the article, and read this sentence instead:

    “Poor me. Being a mommy is difficult.”

    What a bitch…

    • mbo

      What a bitch?

      • justagirl

        LOL! you look confused. feel free to skip over anything “cerebral” has to say. he's quite… uh… crusty.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    I feel the same way, WHICH IS WHY I NEVER HAD CHILDREN.

    • Allison Lafayette

      Having a child is great and blessed gift from God. However, not because we are women means that we all should have children. I pray that God will give the writer of the article strength to go through those challenging days. Also, that you will continue to love your child, but to set bondaries and exercise consistency in raising up this precious gift from God. Remember to ask your Heavenly Father, the creator of all things for wisdom and knowledge in how to bring up this child in a nuturing and healthy environment.

  • Michelle

    My female perspective – I wonder what our generation is coming too? Equality for women, yes. Female CEO's, yes. All taking place in the 80's. Sure, maybe not as much as we would like, but now those corporate women's daughters are stay at home mothers who complain about child rearing – a job we choose. My mother's mother woudl have never thought of such a thing. It is women like you who give women like me/us a bad name and make us look like winers, which fuels the views men make of our decisions. Sure child rearing is not easy, but I think to say we “hate our life” is false and only a title to sell your miserable book which outlines your miserable life and those you chose to disucss it with in an effort to flare your unfounded theories.

  • Julia

    This was an incredibly disappointing…I can't even call it an article. The best part was reading the bit about how the kid jumps out of the babysitter's arms. You're happy for about two seconds and then BAM, back to your miserable existence. I mean come on, the kid's been with a babysitter the whole day and you're complaining mere seconds after your foot's in the door. Assuming you chose to have a life like this, no one wants to hear you complain.

    Your assumption about other parents, on the other hand, it absolutely wrong for many people. Though in your circle it could be a common trend.

  • Anonymous

    How sad. There are people who would LOVE to have children but can’t.

  • Anonymous

    How sad. There are people who would LOVE to have children but can't.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heyns Loren Heyns

    Let go. Lead by example, not by trying to control – which will only fail because it sets a bad example.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heyns Loren Heyns

    Let go. Lead by example, not by trying to control – which will only fail because it sets a bad example.

  • Earaches

    “The scene ended with a time-out in his crib.”

    Should have ended with a smack-down. This kid needs a Dad.

  • Earaches

    “The scene ended with a time-out in his crib.”

    Should have ended with a smack-down. This kid needs a Dad.