Two years ago, when my children were 1 and 4, I “found” the following poem with the help of Google’s autocomplete search function:
Today, with children now ages 3 and 6, I decided to repeat the experiment:
What I take away: First, motherhood is hard. That’s just what the data suggest.
Second, the experience of motherhood isn’t constant. An individual mother’s experiences change as her children grow, as her circumstances are altered, and as her own life evolves. Alongside the changing trajectories of individual mothers are changing norms for parenting and women. If I repeat this experiment in another two years, I expect to find a new poem once again.
Third, amid the difficulty and flux of motherhood there’s some element of enchantment. Call it magic or a muse, there are times of wonder and awe, rapture and joy, dazzling moments of inspiration amid the inevitable moments of perspiration.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and their children!
Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes about psychology, cognitive science and philosophy, with occasional forays into parenting and veganism. You can keep up with more of what she is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo