Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Luckily Normal's Not The Goal Here

A soon to be first time mom once asked me if I had any advice for her. At the time I was 3 months into colic, my hair hadn't seen a brush in weeks, my post pregnancy diet consisted of coffee and reeses peanut butter cups, I was sleeping in 45 minute increments, had the pediatrician on speed dial, and for fun I liked to sit in the bathroom and have a good cry.
Obviously my first thought for her was “DON'T DO IT.”

This however would not have been of any help to her. The only slightly useful thing I could think of to say to her was “sleep while you still can.” While that is incredibly awesome advice, had someone said that to me while I was 8 months pregnant, 70 pounds into it, and desperate to meet the baby boy I was growing inside me I probably would've punched them in the face for the sheer stupidity of their “advice.”

Now that I've graduated from the first year of motherhood, feeling pretty cocky because my child is alive and well, I wonder what I would say now, if asked that same question. Probably not much because the biggest thing I've learned this year is that being a mom is 10% instinct and 90% winging it. However I know what I wished someone would've told me before I gave birth (actually there are a lot of things I wished people had told but I doubt I would've believed them) is this...don't take advice about something you don't want advice on. Moms love to dish it out when they think they've learned or come up with some brilliant parenting strategy. But I didn't ask you if you think my not breastfeeding my son was the reason he liked to cry a lot, I didn't ask you if you thought letting my child sleep in bed with me would cause him a serious drinking problem later in life, I didn't ask you if you thought I held my child too much or worried too much or was crippling my son's independence.

If something works for you, keeps you from losing what's left of your mind, then DO IT. If driving your child around at night to get him to sleep means you get some sleep then screw the repercussions and do it. Moms love to talk about “habits.” “Oh you know you're instilling bad habits in your child by doing that right?” Dear God, I'm too sleep deprived to worry about fucking bad habits. I'm 22 and have a bad habit of drinking my weight in coffee, do I blame my mother because she gave me a bottle in the middle of the night until I was 4? Well, yes...but I'm smart enough to figure out that it's not my parents fault that I like my crutches, they just realized that early on and went with it. Kudos Mom and Dad, kudos.

So there you have it, my insightful thought of the day is take a hint from Nike and just do it.

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