I gotta be honest, I’m barely keeping it together most of the time. I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to know what to do as a parent.
It’s like when you’re in the protein bar aisle. They all have protein, but, some have more sugar, BUT some have more naturally good fat in them. Because natural fat is good for you right? Well, so are cranberries, which this one has. But cranberries have sugar. Ahh, here is one. No sugar, 70 grams of protein, and a direct entrance into Heaven when you buy this one. Only problem is it tastes like cat poop and costs 5 dollars. Next aisle.
That’s how I feel about parenting. Which, I’m not technically even doing yet. I feel like “parenting” refers to teaching and playing and educating and disciplining. I’m no where near that. I’m infanting. Which is basically just trying to make sure Sebastian is fed and relatively happy, which he is because he has the personality of a golden retriever puppy. Playful, adorable, and pees when he gets excited.
Infanting and parenting and adolescenting (I can only imagine, but I really try to not think about this phase) is like the protein bar aisle. There are so many options, and all of them have aspects that you like, such as chocolate chips/the promise of the perfect infant or aspects that you think you should have, like chia seeds/probiotics. There are so many books and methods and theories and opinions, and you know what the unfair part is? They all claim to be right. There should be one book that says “This Is The Truth, the Whole Truth and It’s Going To Blow Your Mind Book”, and all the other ones should be labeled “distractor”. Really it’s only fair.
I was getting my 4 month old ready for his swim class, and playing overhead to get us in the mood for dunking our shocked infants was a scintillating combination of John Denver, Enya, and old Disney. As a creepy Pinocchio song came on, I turned to another mom, trying to be chummy, and said “isn’t it weird listening to this now and realizing how scary that movie is?” She laughed obligingly and then said quickly “Yeah, but I let my kids watch all of those old Disney movies, that’s the kind of mom that I am”. Her defensive to the point of almost being aggressive tone prompted me to laugh awkwardly and walk quickly away in my loud foam flip-flops with a half dressed baby and no towels. I couldn’t stop thinking about this 20 second incident for the rest of the day. “That’s the kind of mom I am”. Why do we feel the need to stick ourselves into a box of “the kind of mom I am”? My theory is that because there are so many options of parenting, it’s completely overwhelming, and we feel the need to choose one. We choose the co-sleeping, no yelling, organic banana kind. Or we choose the cry it out, day care, i-give-my-kids-Tylenol-sometimes-for-teething kind. It’s like high school again, we’re just trying to find a clique.
The thing that makes me sad is that we get so defensive about our way that we don’t look at the mom’s around us and think “they are trying their best.” Instead we gossip, judge, or just raise our eyebrows in a passive aggressive objection to each other’s methods. I mean sure, there are some instances where something is unsafe or inadvisable, and those situations call for kind, gentle, and understanding words. But most of the time, we’re all just trying our best and our kids will be just fine.
For me? Sometimes Seb cries himself to sleep because he doesn’t need anything and he’s just mad it’s his bed time. I’m really into letting him try little nibbles of food even though it’s a tad early because he’s so curious about food. He take probiotics and Zantac because he has a lot of trouble with reflux. I can’t afford to buy organic, as much as I’d love to be able buy produce and throw it out in the same day. Sometimes I buy jars of baby food, sometimes I puree avocados. I love staying home with Seb but it is also good for my soul to leave and go to work two days a week. Sometimes my mommy-gut is on point, and I’m amazed and how I was made to do this. And sometimes I cry on Eric’s shoulder because I don’t think I can get through the day alone while he’s at work.
But mostly I’m just trying to take little pieces of wisdom from all the amazing moms around me and put them in the blender that is me, and spit out something resembling a good mom. And If I can’t get that, at least maybe a chocolate shake.