An online friend recently linked me to to this piece by Ada Calhoun on marriage. In marriage, she reasons, it’s good practice to apply a little Buddhism of sorts, and think of the “and yets.” And yet he makes me laugh. And yet I love him.
It occurred to me, being someone in the official Parenting Experience Less Than One Year category, that this applies equally well to parenthood. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard parents – be it six weeks, months or years on – say something like “this has been the hardest but most rewarding time of my life.” The thing is, I don’t really agree. Doing this is not hard, because it has such clear purpose. Any hardship happens only in tired moments and hormone-soaked bleariness. In those moments, I quickly self-correct: I must do this mildly unpleasant thing, because adorable-tiny-person, that’s why.
The ‘and yet’ principle is perhaps a restating of the same principle, of working and struggling and reaping reward, but I prefer it, because it’s somehow easier to apply in those very moments. Because the year isn’t hard, the weeks aren’t hard, but the moment you’re sitting on the couch with baby puke in your bra and seriously contemplating whether this means you really have to change said bra, that’s more like it. And yet. And yet, that face. Or the nipple twist. Ow. And yet, the giggle afterwards (causing mama pain is funny). The wake-up-as-soon-as-their-head-touches-the-cot, it’s an absolute bitch of a thing. And yet, that silky soft little head asleep on your chest. And yet.
Religion just isn’t for me. And yet, this is a solid piece of life advice. Go Buddhists.
I hear crying.