Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kids and Drugs II

In my experience as a father of a 5 year old daughter there's nothing in life that more poignantly exemplifies the notion of things in life being both immensely beneficial and seriously detrimental than does having a kid. I have previously written about the downsides of having a kid before so I will just summarize some of them in bulletpoint:

-Tremendous drain on time
-Tremendous drain on resources
--Seriously, the time drain. I have to say it again because "holy fuck can I just have 5 min. alone?" is a common thought
-Being woken up at 6:20am with the lights being turned on, a kid jumping on you, being asked to play, etc
-In a span of 3 hours you might be asked 100 questions
-You have to play the same kids games over and over and fake enthusiasm each time
-You have to consider another person and physically take them with you whenever you plan to do anything
-Dealing with things like tantrums, crying, screaming, shit, piss, puke, injuries, spills (constant spills at certain ages), etc
-Just having to constantly be "on-" You're a teacher, a mentor, a guard, a babysitter, a cook, a cleaner etc all day long

Now, all that aside, all that shit you hear about parenting being the greatest, most rewarding endeavour in the world is (mostly) true. There are moments between her and I that are truly the happiest and most endearing of any in this life and I sincerely mean that. The feelings that your little one can engender within you are far and away better, more intense and more satisfying than any you can experience elsewhere. It always sounded ridiculous to me when I was younger but now I find myself experiencing it: I will sometimes think about her and I will feel myself starting to tear up (or feel like I am close to it). She is the greatest, sweetest, brightest thing in my life and I am completely dedicated to doing the best job I can so as to allow her to become a self actualized, competent, happy, free spirited, inquisitive, motivated human (and in all honesty, so far so good, but not solely because of me; she plays a huge role in it herself).

And yet, if I am objective about it, the reality is, moment to moment, day to day is still quite often a grind, even in these awesome times at the age of 5. If you really enjoy free time/freedom having a kid is the worst thing you can do. You can get your happy highs in a lot of other ways, trust me. Laughs with your best friend are pretty fucking awesome too and they cost nothing, unlike kids which cost a LOT.

......And if I am really honest (and this is where I often lose people) what are those amazing feelings I have around her/when I think of her? Is pride not a large part of it? And more importantly, are those feelings of love and happiness not the manifestation of a surge in neurotransmitters? Well, if so, let's explore that for a second. What is a feeling like 'love' exactly? We romanticize the SHIT out of it in society/culture but we know that you can 'turn off' these feelings with changes in brain chemistry (say as a result of brain damage). You can also create loving feelings by stimulating the release of things like oxytocin and dopamine (just like serotonin feels like happiness). So what does this mean, exactly? Well, does it not stand to reason that if you can turn it off and on via chemicals, the feeling of love is a drug high? If so, I am essentially high on drugs when I feel the way I do around my kid. And guess what? If you have a species that needs to take care of its offspring to survive, would it not make sense that they would evolve in such a way that there are biological rewards for parenting? I mean, how would we have fared if parenting made you feel like you were engulfed in flames?

I feel what I feel but at the end of the day I think it might just be a biological 'trick' if you will. These feelings are why people say "it makes it all worthwhile." In my opinion, I don't think it does, and there are studies about parenting and happiness that suggest as much.

Btw, I actually feel guilty even typing this. The "wrongness" of saying such things is still ingrained in me somewhere down there.

1 comment:

Tell magx01 and the rest of The Thoughtful Gamers what's on your mind!