I believe in the work of raising children. I raise my own right now. I won’t with this intensity forever because they will, of course, grow up. I’ve never understood wanting to stop time and keep them babies or toddlers. To me, one of the more gratifying parts of raising children is watching them change and grow, while seeing the ways they have always been exactly themselves.
I remember saying at my father’s memorial service that from the moment he caught my head in birth that we had been doing the work of raising each other. I didn’t have children then, but I still think it’s true that we raise our children and they raise us.
I look at the world differently than I did before children. It’s not just the biological shift of hormones and sleep deprivation. They challenge my ideas, my beliefs, my reasoning. Being challenged is never easy. And being challenged by a highly illogical, emotionally unstable, pre-verbal person shorter than your thighs you chose to create is maddening. I can see from their rolling eyes and hear from their shrill shrieks of disagreement that my children sometimes feel much the same about the ways in which I challenge them.
When the madness gets to be too much I tend to think about children, about parenting, about gender roles in housework, about if that crack in the ceiling was always there, about celebrity gossip, about… And when the thinking gets to be too much I call a friend to talk. Usually that’s when I remember how much I believe in the work of raising children.