Nobody wants to see you go hollow (parenting thread)

I've got a wonderful 3 year old but parenting is very hard. Are there other parents here?

It is astounding just how little personal growth one can fit into life once you have kids. Any advice?

Fellow parent checking in here. I find it helpful to remember that the personal growth is external to your own body right now. That's OK! Finding ways to maintain connection to the things that you enjoy (like say, posting on Insert Credit which can be done asynchronously rather than playing a 65 minute game of DOTA2) is important. It will help you maintain the continuity of your own identity beyond “the parent of that kid over there”.

been thinking about a thread like this so i'm glad someone made one. i have a 2 y/o and a 4 y/o. it is hard.


personal growth

extremely agree. the killer for me was that i didn't realize how much stuff i wanted to do until i no longer had the time to do it. only thing that's worked for me is being very deliberate about using the little free time i have left as productively as possible. that and working out an arrangement with my wife where i get a guaranteed four hour block of time, once a week. that did a lot for my well-being

I've got a 5 year old and a 2 year old, and yes, any semblance of a “personal life” is gone.

But to answer your question, @compositehiggs – the 2-3 year old age zone is the most consistently aggravating, and once your little one gets into the 4-5 age range, you'll take a lot more satisfaction from your (now more meaningful) interactions. Your kid will start to develop their own interests, and get the ability to tell you stories about their day. Once that stuff starts happening, you won't be so concerned about your own personal growth. And that personal growth will still be happening. Just in a way you haven't experienced yet, so you might not recognize it for what it is straight away.

That's been my experience, anyway.

But parenting is a hard, messy, thankless job.

i‘ve got a 13 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. it’s awesome when your kids can cook their own damn eggs. i guess i'm just chiming in to say it gets better.

my kid is 4 1/2 and i can echo what @whatsarobot said - more and more he is able to express his independent thoughts and he has a wild imagination that i find endlessly entertaining. at the same time i gotta say his behaviour has also become more challenging to manage in certain ways. i maintain my sanity by seeing this as a trade-off. the lil guy has a very active mind and that‘s a double edged sword but i wouldn’t have it any other way.

my advice would be to take whatever opportunities you get for 'you' time and take them unapologetically. your wellbeing flows directly into your child's wellbeing. they deserve to be parented by the best version of you that you can muster at any given time, right? so be good to yourself.

Not a parent, but having shared this in a parenting group before who agreed with me, I think every parent should read about Inuit parenting techniques and learn about how traditional Inuit parenting styles incorporate play, storytelling, and imagination, with a strong emphasis on teaching emotional regulation and empathy in a way kids intuitively understand

@Gaagaagiins#26990 Martha Nussbaum cites the Inuits as a society where anger is considered deeply taboo and childish. That sounds good to me. I always think its hilarious and deeply shameful when an adult gets angry.

Three years old is hard because life is just settling down enough that you start to think you could try and get work on a project done but in fact you are still too busy to make it happen.

For awhile I tried getting up an hour before everyone so I could have some time to work on game development but even this simple attempt seemed to throw the whole house into disarray and I eventually gave up on it.

Yeah parenting is a real trip lol

I have a three year old! Popular age.

Contrary to what some people have said about lack of time for personal growth etc, having a child has made me appreciate time a lot more, and get more done in the limited windows of opportunity I get. I'm also a much better version of myself than I was three years ago, and hanging out with my daughter is the best thing on earth.

I'm self-employed, running a business mostly from home but occasionally on clients' premises. I decided with my wife that a few months after our daughter was born and she went back to work that I would stay home with the baby and try to run the business part-time if possible. Having to squeeze what was previously a 40hr work week into nap times, evenings and grandparent visits is hard, but I now make much more efficient use of my time to the extent that the business is actually doing _better_ with me working 10-20hr weeks than it was when I was full-time.

She's just started nursery/kindergarten/pre-school (delete as appropriate) and I suddenly feel like I have SO MUCH TIME, and the last three years have taught me how to actually use it.

@compositehiggs#27045 Staying up late > getting up early for me. Sitting down to get some work done with a beer while the house is dark and quiet and everyone's in bed might actually be my preferred way of working now.

@billy#27055 I am a morning person. I‘ve been getting up at 5 am since I was in high school. My house is small and creaky and my wife has sleep problems, so I’ve just given up on it. But when I was a bachelor my morning routine was always up at 5 am and immediately get on the erg or exercise.

For me it’s just not possible, spending all day every day with my kids, to not get angry sometimes. I’m on an antidepressant so that helps

Nice to know there are other parents here. We only have one kid and it’s basically been a full time job for me for the past year (and part-time before that). In-person kindergarten starts tomorrow so I’m about to start getting a little more time. I’m typing this during zoom class.

Not that everything here has to be about video games but I’ve been hanging out a lot with a pod of preschool friends and they’re nice but we don’t have much in common. For example, one mom recently said to the group, “Do you remember Tetris?”

I thought about playing Tetris Effect for 10 minutes the night before thanks to the $1 Windows game pass trial. I also thought about my friend’s game [Futilitris]( and another friend’s Classic Tetris world championship [documentary]( I must have played at least 20 versions or variants of Tetris over the years and I don’t really consider myself a big Tetris guy. Once I collected all these [images of Alexey Pajitnov]( from different versions of Welltris.

I think I just said, “Yeah, I remember Tetris”.


@compositehiggs#27044 Martha Nussbaum cites the Inuits as a society where anger is considered deeply taboo and childish.

Heh, not saying you are perpetuating this by citing her, but that's a somewhat silly distinction being made by Nussbaum. I would hazard a guess that anger is considered taboo in most cultures (based on my own personal experiences of being a person who has seen it at least once, I mean, that is the worst!!). But in a way, I would say it is a severe taboo to express anger in western society. If that sounds counterintuitive and that expressing anger in western culture is very normal, I would draw a distinction between two forms that anger on a cultural level seems to take.

One form is an expression of dominance over the target of one's rage, or retaliating for a perceived threat or slight, or a pre-emptive suppression of dissent. The rage of a boss to make emotionally charged demands for higher productivity. We have a newly termed slang word for someone who engages in a particular expression of it--a Karen. This form of anger is not taboo in the slightest, if anything, it's practically something those in positions of power or authority feel an entitlement to express. But, honestly, I have a hard time seeing this as "anger" in a strict sense. It's more like insecurity, or just pure aggression. It's anger as theatre or rhetoric.

The other is expressions of anger I would say is a more sincere and pure form of anger, something more honest to the mystery that is the internal human emotional experience. That emotion comes from things like the impulse to reject or resist an injustice, or the resentment of being forced to submit to exploitation. This kind of anger is just about the highest form of taboo in western society. You certainly can't express it in public collectively and you're even actively discouraged from experiencing it in your private life, because to do so is to emotionally reject the status quo.

Why I really like the article and as well why I think even out of context Nussbaum's singling out of Inuit culture as having a taboo against anger is silly is because, in Inuit culture anger is certainly a taboo _for adults,_ however, much like similar cultures, they are also endlessly tolerant of the behaviour of children. Anger is seen as childish because only kids are really allowed to do it. Having been raised with at least little glimmers of maybe somewhat similar forms of social control from an indigenous culture, enforcing that expectation through teasing is for adolescents, not children. They recognize that kids, for instance, are more emotional and more outwardly emotional than adults because they don't yet have the capacity to skillfully distinguish reason from emotion. And they are much more honest about which of those two theories of anger of mine they may be feeling. The Inuit approach also recognizes the importance of teaching kids in a method of delivery that is in tune with the common internal world of a kid, which is emotional and expressive rather than intellectual and abstract. For kids hands on learning is always best, and that no matter what you want them to do or how you want them to think, all day kids are absorbed in imagination and play. It's recognizing that you're maybe trying to guide the kid up intellectually to your higher intellectual/ethical level, but also that in terms of imagination and play, you're also capable of rising up to meet them on that higher level of imagination and play.

What I think is also most radically different in that approach, is that it acknowledges emotional regulation is a skill. The beauty of the part of the article where the mom eggs the kid on to throw the rock at her so the mom can play out the consequences, is that it understands that emotional regulation is a skill needs to be practiced to be learned. You need to practice experiencing emotions in order to ensure that emotion can be regulated at the moment they are most intense, and then, one can ensure the emotional experience leads to a constructive end.

It's the fundamental failure of how I think western culture teaches us to deal with emotions, which is that most of us need to suppress them most of the time, keep them out of sight or drown them in substances, and it's one's personal responsibility to ensure you don't act impulsively and harm others, I think so you can be a more pliable wage laborer. Emotions by their nature compel you to communicate and/or perform them, and the more intense they are the more urgent you feel you need to act on them. At the peak of an emotional experience is when the line between reason and impulse is the most blurred. So if all you're taught as a kid is that your destructive emotions should be relegated to your bedroom during a time out and that you've mostly been ordered to not express emotions destructively by intellectual or just outright arbitrary demands from authority, you are much more likely to have no idea how to handle it when, say, during puberty, your emotions become intense and inexplicable even to you. But then, unhelpfully, the social pressure to contain destructive (including self destructive) behaviour just gets heightened, and the stock response from authority is just to try and punish you more severely for acting on what could just be impulse.

I guess what I mean to say is, most people don't learn how to not throw rocks at people if they've never been taught how to hold the rock without throwing it.


@tapevulture#27061 For me it’s just not possible, spending all day every day with my kids, to not get angry sometimes. I’m on an antidepressant so that helps

Just in case you read my IC Style Paragraphs and feel like that was some kinda snide response to you, you should know that there is nothing wrong with feeling angry! I really believe strongly that more often than we give it credit for, anger is a reasonable reaction to injustice. I highly doubt you are truly feeling anger towards your kids, even if there are social pressures that may compel you to assume that's what it must be. I think if anything at the root of it your anger might more originate from not being able to set personal boundaries and space that fulfill you and make you emotionally happy. That would make anyone angry and while it isn't only caused by having children, you have to admit there is social pressure on you to put up with it without complaint, which is an injustice. You know what I mean?

Let's not forget that the nuclear family and placing most if not all of the responsibility to raise children on to just their biological parents is almost exclusively a western standard, in its strict form it's less than a century old, and it was more or less forced on to us whether we liked it or not. At least from a biological perspective, you're really supposed to be sharing this childcare duty collectively with like, a dozen or two of your relatives and neighbors. It's only recently that anyone thought it was a good idea to dump this heavily compartmentalized, frankly often highly redundant responsibility on households of direct biological parents.

Plus I have this sinking suspicion that a lot of the people who said it was a good idea also coincidentally sold homes in suburbs and personal automobiles and piles of consumer goods en masse. And also that idea came about during a time when even the middle class could more easily afford to hire many different forms of domestic labor and outsource a lot of that individual responsibility anyway. But maybe all of that is just a coincidence.


@Gaagaagiins#27130 I think if anything at the root of it your anger might more originate from not being able to set personal boundaries and space that fulfill you and make you emotionally happy.

Lord, this is me by bathtime every night! We’ve got a 5 year old and almost 3 year old. We’ve just split their bath times so they aren’t sharing the tub and that helps, but jeez, by the end of the night all I want is a smooth end to the craziness.

@bone#27133 then yes, absolutely, I stress to you as well, at least try to remember “it takes a village to raise a child” is not really supposed to be interpreted as poetry or metaphor lol. Not to get too evobio here but we‘ve got like millions of years of collective species level experience with raising kids collectively with p much all available nearby adults and elders, and we’ve only really been doing this nuclear family thing for 70 of them. And by we, I mean, only a relatively small portion of people on Earth


I read Nussbaum's book about anger and while she acknowledges the idea that anger is justified in cases of injustice, she provides an analysis of why it is still not an optimal response. I'm not sure where I am on the subject but it certainly is wildly out of sync with contemporary feelings about historical injustices.

I saw Nussbaum speak about this recently and she got some very difficult questions from the audience. Even though Nussbaum nominally repudiates a purely virtue ethical position in her more recent work I think she still hews very close to that line, suggesting that emotional responses to external circumstances are unproductive compared to a cold blooded plan for a more just future.

I get angry in the abstract all the time at people like Jeff Bezos, but not in my personal life, probably because I am in a fairly stable social position and rarely receive what I perceive to be acts attempting to downrank me socially.