Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happiness is a baby called Louis?

An unspoken new Mummy rule makes it okay to moan about the odd aspect of Motherhood but not okay to bemoan becoming a Mum. The former is essentially a prerequisite of any playdate, the latter suggestive that you might be suffering from the dreaded PND. 

Yet, as any new Mum knows, this Mummying lark is no picnic. Sometimes it feels like I've spent the past 10 or so months merely obsessing about one worry after another. Will he want to breastfeed? Will he want to stop breastfeeding? Will he like his buggy? Will he sleep in his crib? Will he ever sleep through the night? You get the drift. Just about the only things that keeps you sane are those ray-of-sunshine moments that punctuate the angst: the smiles, the "Ma-mas", the giggles, the cuddles, the milestones. 

Daddy J's take on it all is that parenthood is all about extremes. The highs are higher but the lows are lower. And you can find pleasure in the simplest things. Who knew a bath could be so much fun? Or you could be so pleased just to make it out for a coffee? 

As the first year anniversaries approach - I stopped working a year ago this weekend, we moved house nearly a year ago, Louis's first birthday is just around the corner - I can't seem help looking back at what life used to be like. And then wondering if I'm happier with the one I have now. Or not. According to a piece in last week's Times stating that kids won't make you happy I'm not. And apparently it's only going to get worse: researchers at the Paris School of Economics found life satisfaction rose during pregnancy and year one of parenthood only to plummet for the next four years. 

The article concluded: "Children give us many things - raising them can be both rewarding and meaningful - but an increase in our average daily happiness is probably not among them." The author claims we "should celebrate" that fact but declines to explain how. I guess that's why ultimately there's no roadmap to being a parent. As with our roadtrip, presumably the journey will be worth the effort but I guess a few wrong turns are inevitable. And with that, I'd better go and try to calm an irate Louis who at 10.30pm sounds like he's had enough of his crib for one night. 


Julie Kubal said...

I read that article too. It's almost reassuring to hear that it's not supposed to be all bliss. Take this morning for example: Sasha spent the entire time fussing and crying and I just couldn't figure out the problem. Very frustrating!!

katy and sophie said...

higher highs and lower lows...i couldn't agree more.