The Media Myth
This article comes with a health warning because the following topic is one of my personal rants, but it does relate to parenting, I hope ?
I’m referring to the slow, continuous drip of the media, in all its forms, designed to leave us feeling like our lives are lacking in some way and suggesting in a subtle, and not so subtle way, that we can ‘have it all’, but can we?
My rant was revived this week as I watched the first part of a documentary called ‘The 7 Year Switch’. In this series, several couples who are seriously wondering if they can remain together, agree to swap partners with one of the other couples to get another perspective on how a relationship could be. I know, it sounds just like another one of those cringy, desperate to get viewings programs but, as I am intrigued by the younger generations attitudes to relationships and life in general, I watched it.
As they interviewed each of the couples, what struck me was how most of them referred to ‘how they wanted things to be the way there were at the beginning of their relationship’. I guess it won’t come as any surprise that they were referring to their pre-children days. And this is the part of the myth that I am referring to.
Where does the idea come from that we can add precious and vulnerable little lives to our relationship and have things exactly the same as before. Surely the clue is in the ‘adding to’ and, if I may be so bold, should ideally be given serious consideration before the family unit expands? After all 1+1+1=3 not 2.
A simple example…when my husband and I go out walking he usually holds one of my hands and I have the other one for myself. Life is bliss. But, when I go out walking with all three of my 3 year old grandchildren, two hands are just never enough. It takes negotiation, tact, agreement, tears and occasionally tantrums, but one of them will usually find the willingness and kindness to wait for their turn. They choose to adapt to the equation, they choose to be the bigger person!
So, back to 1+1+1=3 not 2. Not exactly rocket science I know, but the equation changes every time an addition is made or subtracted, which might come in numbers, age, or life events. So things can’t be ‘the same’, they have to change, we have to change. But change simply means rethinking how we can positively and proactively embrace the ‘new norm’ for us, and stay connected with the person we fell in love with.
I’m not suggesting as parents that we give up our own interests, work or are slaves to every whim of our child, but please let’s not buy into the media myth that ‘we can have all the children we want and still have our perfect home, holidays, space, energy, inner peace and idyllic lifestyle’. It might just leave us frustrated, irritable and, worst of all, resentful to the very little lives that arrived of our choosing and towards our partner.
And so back to the tv programme…it will be interesting to see if, having been flown to an idyllic island, and staying in luxurious accommodation with all that they need for two weeks, in short ‘having it all’, will be the answer to a happy relationship or will they find their answers lie in themselves?! Hmmmm…
Until next time