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I’m OK, You’re Nuts

Jan
30
2007

It keeps getter clearer and clearer: to be a parent you’ve got to be nuts. Or at least highly irrational.
After all, kids make their parents fat and unhealthy. Or rather, having kids around means their parents eat more saturated fat, which I’ll translate to fatter and less healthy. The doctor describing this phenomenon, from a recently reported study, was careful not to point the finger directly at kids as the culprit for the bad eating habits, just saying that in households with kids there’s more junk food around. But come on. Let’s throw a little blame on the little people. Of course, there’s the possibility that people have kids simply as a cover for the Frosted Pop-Tarts, Twinkies and frozen chicken nuggets in their kitchens, but that seems a bit excessive.
So OK, kids lead to tubbiness. But aren’t parents at least fat and jolly? Oh no. Because when researchers actually check with people about when they’re happy, watching TV or cooking beats out those togetherness moments with the kids. Sure people might think their kids make them happy, but that’s just because every so often you get these moments of exceptional joy, which skews your overall perception of how unpleasant the whole thing is.
Well, maybe one kid does make you happy for a while. But no one’s committing to more than that.
In any case, the good news is, you may be fat and depressed, but you won’t feel it as long because parenting ages you faster. And, believe me, you look it, too. That’s my conclusion, at least, since stress – and stressful caregiving – ages you. Or just look at your pictures from before you had kids. (Here’s a study that looked at cell aging related to stress in mothers, some of whom were caring for a chronically ill child.)
And of course, as your chubby, wrinkled, sad parental self is being hounded into an early grave, you know you can’t look back on a life filled with material things, because children are a black hole for money. Now that most people have given up the family farm, kids are the opposite of a useful, economic good. In fact, your average family business probably does better with fewer offspring to fight over the company. Or, even better, run by an outsider. (And naturally, all this money we’re shelling out on things like braces isn’t even going to make the kids themselves happier apparently.)
So really, all the arguments are against having kids. Which means if you do it anyway, you’ve got to be crazy. And yet people keep doing it, becoming parents. On purpose too, sometimes.
It can’t all be explained by cute Baby Gap ads. There are people who go to extreme lengths, like defying menopause, to have kids. It’s the same idea as why we eat Pop-Tarts: primitive impulse, 1; rational thought process, 0.
So by definition, it means it must be true what we all know – everybody’s parents are nuts. Although if you’re a parent too, that must mean…No surely not, surely our kids won’t see us that way. Boy, see if I share my Pop-Tarts with them anymore.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 11:31 PM | Permalink

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