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BY Sarah Reinhard
There are a number of things I would have never believed about motherhood, back in “the day.”
I wouldn’t have believed that it was so hard. I wouldn’t have believed that it was so demanding. I wouldn’t have believed that it was so fun.
Yes, that’s right: motherhood is fun. It keeps me hopping, it’s true, but it also keeps me sane. (And I'm not the only one who thinks so.)
I posted this as my Facebook status at about 1:15 am the other night: My kids occasionally drive me crazy but mostly keep me sane.
I assume this is a common feeling among parents. The first half of the statement is taught as gospel by secular society, which views children (at best) as an annoyance and (at worst) expendable via abortion. Either way, kids are seen as buzzkills.
Yet after sitting through a particularly dull meeting at work, wherein several revelations came to light that were news to me and which would later require a significant amount of busywork on my part, I found that I only regained a sense of normalcy by coming home and playing with our boys.
I wouldn’t have believed that motherhood would make me smarter, which flies in the face of recent headlines decrying the fact that smart women aren't having kids.
It seems that women these days are too clever for their own good, at least when it comes to making babies. Research emerging from the London School of Economics examining the links between intelligence and maternal urges in women claims that more of the former means less of the latter. In an ideal world, such findings might be interpreted as smart women making smart choices, but instead it seems that this research is just adding fuel to the argument that women who don’t have children, regardless of the reason, are not just selfish losers but dumb ones as well.
Satoshi Kanazawa, the LSE psychologist behind the research, discussed the findings that maternal urges drop by 25% with every extra 15 IQ points in his book The Intelligence Paradox.
I’m not the only mom who sees the smarts it takes:
How tragic that voluntarily childless women have got it all wrong. In fact, nothing challenges your grey matter like motherhood whether you are a stay-at-home or working mom with one child or a dozen. Even the quietest, most unassuming woman can become a formidable force when called upon to advocate for her children at school, in the doctor’s office, in life. Moms multi-task, prioritize, improvise, negotiate, conduct research and problem-solve as we juggle professional, volunteer and personal responsibilities. And that takes brains.
But what I really wouldn’t have believed is this: having one kid at home with me is a LOT more work than having all three. As recently as last year, I might have argued with that statement, pointing out that the age of the kid matters.
Now, though, I’m convinced. One child is more work. I only have to watch my friends who have only one kid, have only one of my own kids, or consider how I used to spend my time back when all I had was one kid. They still need me and self-entertain in many of the same ways, but when they need me, they seem lonely, more demanding, multiplied in a way that makes no sense considering that they are ALONE.
It’s part of the math of motherhood, I guess. One’s more work than three. Maybe someday I’ll be blessed to find out if that holds true for bigger numbers...