When my husband was in grad school (not studying rocket science as I may have led you to believe, but actually researching the psychology behind creativity in the engineering design process), he mentioned how drawing conclusions from the data felt a lot like making stuff up. After weeks of transcribing the thoughts and interactions of engineers as they worked through design problems, he was going a little crazy. How much of what he was seeing in the coding was actual “proof” and how much was he finding because he was trying so hard to find it? This is completely normal. Focusing so intently on one single area of expertise in order to advance the boundary of knowledge, discover a little more, push the limits of our understanding of our world, is mind blowing, and a little mind numbing.
This graphic helped me understand a little better:
In many ways, I think the same is true for parenting. It’s an extremely focused time, or at least these young years are in my experience. Kids are needy, very dependent, and time consuming. Try all-consuming. We work hard to make sure our life is not completely consumed by children: we try to invest in our marriage and relationships with family and friends, advance careers and develop skills, keep up hobbies and interests. But let me tell you, it’s hard.
Like assigning code to people’s creative process in order to make it more quantifiable and measurable, the nitty-gritty, day-to-day work of changing diapers and answering questions and addressing behaviors and cleaning up messes can be mind numbing! Are we getting anywhere? Making any headway at all?
When we zoom out and talk about the lofty goal of raising quality people into adulthood, of launching rocket babies, all this daily grind, gruntwork can seem so far from the end goal! Let’s not forget the big picture!