The father of two bravely admitted he’s struggling
Screenwriter, director, and father-of-two, Duncan Jones, caused quite the buzz on social media over the weekend because he admitted something most parents have thought at one time or another — parenting is really freaking hard and not always enjoyable.
“I have 2 kids. 2 1/2 years & 9 months old respectively,” Jones, son of the late David Bowie, wrote on Twitter. “I’ll tell you something I never see anyone admit… they are exhausting, frustrating & life-destabilizing. They are rarely fun. Sure, smiles are great, hugs are lovely, but it’s HARD & not obviously a good choice in life.”
I have 2 kids. 2 1/2 years & 9 months old respectively.
I’ll tell you something I never see anyone admit… they are exhausting, frustrating & life-destabilizing. They are rarely fun. Sure, smiles are great, hugs are lovely, but it’s HARD & not obviously a good choice in life.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 12, 2019
Jones followed his original tweet up with more insight into not only how he feels, but how others will likely perceive his words — defensively. “This is where people feel compelled to say ‘i wouldn’t change it for the world!'” he wrote. “But you know… Of course I’d reconsider! It’s exhausting! Its banal! It’s like looking after a dog you can’t housetrain. What it is, is that it is. & they are mine. Hopefully they turn out ok.”
This is where people feel compelled to say “i wouldn’t change it for the world!”— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 12, 2019
But you know... Of course I’d reconsider!
It’s exhausting! Its banal! It’s like looking after a dog you can’t housetrain.
What it is, is that it is.
& they are mine.
Hopefully they turn out ok.
Naturally, people stepped in to immediately tell Jones he’s wrong for feeling his feelings and (gasp) actually admitting them out loud. There’s an entire article that slams Jones because “parenting isn’t actually all about him and how he feels.” Except, it is. Parents are humans, too, just like their children. We deserve to have our feelings acknowledged and to be understood.
There’s been a number of responses also meant to shame him for confessing parenting isn’t 24/7 rainbows and butterflies:
Yes, being a parent is exhausting and frustrating and maddening. But so is being a kid - and I expect even more so when you are too young to understand most of what’s happening around you. For what it’s worth - I hope yours never get to see these “of course I’d reconsider” words.— melanie vandenbrouck (@m_vandenbrouck) January 14, 2019
My daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me.— Old Nick: Heavy Mental™️ ☂️ (@NFalkner77) January 14, 2019
Ok, imagine that exhaustion as a member of the working poor, mom or both parents working full time and losing financial ground because of childcare expenses, AND one of the kids is diagnosed with a chronic incurable expensive disease. #wavingfromthefront— Now I wanna be your dog 🏆MCFC 🌀 (@JForTheMoney) January 14, 2019
I respectfully suggest you make peace with the fact that”It’s not about you anymore” —If you embrace their sometimes inconvenient but magical presence in your life, YOU are the one who will benefit later on. In spades. Trust me. If you don’t, you, and they, will be miserable.— Sandra Kornick (@SKornick) January 14, 2019
...Said "Bad-Dad Who Thinks He's Honest-Dad."— C. Dickson (@NImH37) January 14, 2019
I feel sorry for you that this is how you feel about your kids. It’s like you’re missing the point of being a dad. :/— The FOO (@PolitiBunny) January 13, 2019
Comments like these are not only self-serving, they tend to directly negate the advice these people are trying to give: It’s not about you, either. Jones was simply stating how he, as a father of two young children, is coping in that moment.
But here’s the thing. Kids are exhausting and frustrating and rarely fun, especially when they require your care for every single thing. They are life-destabilizing — anyone who says their lives are the same as before they had kids and are breezing through this parenting gig are lying. And that lie is more damaging, more devastating than any other single thing a person can tell you. It’s ok if you don’t always enjoy it.
Parenting is all-consuming. It takes all of you, every single day, with little recognition. It’s a sacrifice, for many it pays out in spades, but for some, it doesn’t. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean their children will be cast aside or neglected or unloved. It just means parenting isn’t what they thought it would be. And that sucks.
Luckily, most of the comments on Jones’ post were supportive and encouraging. Many told him it would get better as his kids get older and thanked him for his honestly, because they felt like that, too.
18 months & nearly 4 over this way. They’ve just started to play with each other, which helps a lot. Your ages really are the tough times. I know everyone says it, but it will get easier. Try to get some sleep, Good luck!— chris o'dowd (@BigBoyler) January 12, 2019
I spoke out like this in 1986 and people were horrified - I love my daughter but this constant staring at a baby and my whole flat being turned into small clothes shop and the sleep deprivation and suddenly everything I did was scrutinised and commented on - I was shut up— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) January 12, 2019
What utter arrogance.— Matt Gordon 🇳🇿🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@mattgordon80) January 13, 2019
This is exactly why people struggle with parenting. They put their hand up and say 'Hey, this is really fucking hard and I'm having a difficult time' someone pipes up to say 'It should be the greatest time of your life, you're obviously doing it wrong'
how DARE you speak openly and honestly about the reality of parenting, thereby shattering my perfect illusion of the process as proclaimed by all laws known to humankind— Steven Blomkamp 🌾 (@sblomkamp) January 14, 2019
That’s really all we need as parents is support of others, no matter how we’re feeling.