Parenting is such an incredible, all-consuming experience that it causes you to feel emotions differently than you’ve ever felt them before. Caring for your children causes many emotions to come on more strongly, and more quickly, than they used to.
Not only do you often find yourself feeling myriad emotions in quick succession, if not all at once – many of them new emotions you may not have experienced before – but you also find yourself experiencing the same ones, good and bad, every day, over and over again.
Especially if you have more than one child.
Then, suddenly, practically simultaneously, you remember that you have another, younger child, and you feel that joy – and the relief at having finally surpassed a particularly grueling aspect of the parenting process (whether it’s sleeping through the night or potty training or countless others) – curdle into despair and defeat with the realization that you’re doomed to repeat that very struggle.
That younger child, who may or may not be a two-month-old baby who looks exactly like his older brother but seems to somehow be even more of a pain in the ass, will also need to be shepherded through the same minefield of trial and error, of carrots and sticks, on his excruciatingly slow incremental climb to independence and self-sufficiency.
Being a parent is like volunteering to be Sisyphus. Whether you have one kid or two kids or ten kids, parenthood is literally choosing to repeat the same frustrating, thankless tasks every day, over and over and over again.
Except instead of pushing a stubborn boulder up a hill, you’re raising kids. And instead of doing it because you’re cursed, you do it because you – inexplicably and without rationality – love your boulders so fucking much that when people without boulders of their own see what you’re putting yourself through, they think you’re a total lunatic.
And they’re not wrong.
But you’re crazy, so what do you care?