Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parenthood Is Not a Competitive Sport

Parenthood is not a competitive sport. We should be able to put our idealistic and naïve ideas out into the world without worrying about the distain or incredulity or jealously or insecurity of other parents. We should be proud of our accomplishment and ideals and we should learn from our failures.

And if there is a parenting stance out there that we agree with and we are proud of we should be able to celebrate it even if we are being a little insufferable about it! Why not enjoy the stuff we believe in and we are doing right? This is such a frustrating job that we need to pat ourselves on the back every once in a while.

So what about the parenting stuff we read that we disagree with?

Before I was a mom there was a ton of stuff I was sure I’d do differently, from the type of diapers I use to Cry It Out. The Cry It Out thing tortures me. It keeps me up a night. I am deeply ashamed that we cannot comfort our son at night without him thoroughly waking up or becoming even more inconsolable. Do articles criticizing CIO bother me? Yup. Hell, they hurt me a lot. Because I’d love to not have to do it. But I also know my kid and it is the only way he can get to sleep and stay asleep.

When I read those CIO articles for half a minute I do want to write a response telling the author to get off her fucking high horse. But what would that serve? I’d feel better (and very self righteous) for a minute. But you know what? I’d look like a jerk. And my point, even if it was good, even if it was right would be lost, and I hate to lose. So in the past when I have taken to my keyboard to disagree with an article I’ve tried not to mock or lash out or belittle (I can do all that in the privacy of my home with Z as my audience). Whoever wrote that article or agreed with it is entitled to her opinion just as I’m entitled to mine. But there is a better chance she will listen to my opinion if I’m not insulting her or her intelligence.

So I’m going to continue to be proud of myself every time I nurse my son (even if I’m also quaking in fear that he is going to bite). I’m going to be proud when I open the freezer and see all the colorful cubes of baby food I made for him waiting to be used.

I’m also going to try my damndest not to beat myself up over the crying at bedtime. I’m going to try and not be envious or angry about moms that have good sleepers. I’m going to try and prevent myself from feeling like less when I read articles that say CIO inflicts permanent damage. And if I read or hear something that I absolutely disagree with I’m going to engage in a way that will make that other person listen rather than just dismiss me for being mean.

Who the hell knows if I will succeed? I don’t have a great history of keeping insecurities at bay. But very soon I’m going to be attempting to teach T to be a thoughtful and compassionate person. I’m hoping to teach by example and I have quite a bit of work to do myself on both counts before he’ll be able to take me seriously.

And now I'll get off my fucking high horse. Here's T hanging out in his pool on Memorial Day.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so proud that you're my friend, and I'm going to reread this post from time to time, particularly when I need to get some perspective. (Or off my own high horse.) Thank you!