James Lileks, a stay-at-home father, takes Newsweek to the woodshed regarding stay-at-home mothers.
As I write this, I have an image fresh in my mind: the face of a friend, the mother of a first-grader, who I ran into one morning right before Christmas.Replies Lileks:
She was in the midst of organizing a class party. This meant shopping. Color-coordinating paper goods. Piecework, pre-gluing of arts-and-crafts projects. Uniformity of felt textures. Of buttons and beads. There were the phone calls, too. From other parents. With criticism and "constructive" comments that had her up at night, playing over conversations in her mind. "I can't take it anymore," she said to me. "I hate everyone and everything. I am going insane."
Well. It’s too bad Amazon cannot overnight a sense of perspective, because there are, in truth, tougher situations to find yourself in. I’d like to reserve “hating everyone and everything and going insane” for the moment when I’m fleeing the attack helicopters that have come to wipe out my tribe.Some people just don’t recognize when they’ve been blessed.
Raising Gnat is the most important thing I do.
Most certainly is one Miss N. Lileks (Gnat) very blessed.
Well-raised children become centered, mature adults (for the most part) and, in large or small ways, bless those with whom they come in contact. Conversely--outside of the grace of God--poorly-raised, neglected and/or abused children become society's monsters. Just ask about the background of many of those who populate our prisons.
Hopefully, most of you who are parents have this perspective. And while I'm not a parent, I do remember being a child and remember how good it felt to be loved and valued.
Bravo, Mr. Lileks.
(Thanks to Glenn Reynolds)
UPDATE: By the way, if you think it ends when they're eighteen, disabuse yourself of that notion. Just ask my parents. Their youngest was eighteen ten years ago.
To paraphrase my dad on several subjects, procreating is more than a notion.