This is a little unusual for this blog, but these are very unusual times – this is Lily’s husband writing. Lily gave me me this sketch to post on her behalf, and I thought that I’d take the opportunity to write. I hope she doesn’t mind.
Being a parent is a tough gig and although it’s certainly a rewarding one, the reward system is unlike any that you will be familiar with from your pre-parenting life. In return for being responsible for a small and mostly helpless human being 24 hours a day, you get the joy of their love and and happiness. You get to see them grow and learn new things. The pride of watching them reach new milestones like walking and talking. But you also get abused, hit, screamed at, thrown up and shat on. You get the judgmental looks from strangers as your toddler rolls around on the street / café floor / train tantruming because you wouldn’t let them do whatever extremely dangerous thing they were were determined to do.
It’s not at all that I think that the rewards of having a child aren’t enough (even though as I write this Anja is screaming her head off out of frustration in not being able to force a pencil into a small cloth bag), but I think that as a society we’ve been taught never to be satisfied. We’re taught that nothing is more important than being successful, or famous, or having the most… whatever. So many of of my contemporaries are so driven to succeed, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of them; my career is deeply important to me. So once our child is born and we come down from the excitement of that big achievement, how can we reconcile our old reward system with this new one? Long after everybody has stopped congratulating us on bringing a new beautiful life into the world and we’re still changing nappies and being screamed at.
Lily is an amazing person and I have more love and respect for her that I could put in to words. She’s also unbelievably talented and I’m constantly in awe of her. But like the rest of us, she’s driven to succeed. On top of mothering a toddler, she has an art career and maintains two blogs. In fact I think that this blog is a way for Lily to attempt to bring her two worlds (art and motherhood) together. I honestly don’t know how she does it all.
Perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with the desire for success, but I think that it’s time that as a society we begin to treat parents, particularly those who take the majority of the care, as valuable and successful too.
Of course what I’ve written about here isn’t the only reason that Lily is in the hospital, it’s only a fraction of it, but I think it needs talking about all the same. I’m not sure exactly how long Lily will be in the hospital, but I am hopeful that the outcome of all of this will be positive, make her happier, and us stronger as a family.
I love you Lily. xx