You guys remember back before you were parents and you had all these opinions that were based on rational thought and hours of Internet research?
And then remember when you actually had babies and developed techniques entirely the opposite of everything you had ever theorized about raising children? And that time you thought that you had the best parenting skills and the most knowledgable parenting advice and that if so-and-so would just do with their children the way you’ve so expertly done with yours, the world would be a much better place?
And then when you had to scrap all of it because your fourth child came along and torpedoed the proverbial crap into the fan and blasted your parenting bag o’ tricks wide freakin’ open?
And you sat thinking at night (and in the morning, and again at lunch and second lunch and afternoon snack and three more times before dinner and non-stop for the next three hours) “What happened? I had this parenting thing licked!” And also, “Why am I so hungry?”
There’s a lot of mushy-gushy mom-lists and they’re all titled something like “10 Things No One Told Me Were So Great About Raising Children” or “Why I Cry Tears of Happiness When I Have to Make The Hundredth Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly Sandwich of the Day.”
And I’m sick of those lists.
Let’s just stop, ok? We all know that none of us know what the hell we’re doing. And if you think you do, well, you’re lying to yourself, which makes you a liar and nobody likes a liar especially one who lies about being a mom who’s on top of things. Me? It’s a miracle from Heaven that me and my kids are all still here and accounted for–and brushing our teeth even! Giving God the glory, y’all!
For instance: today Arbor, my millionth child, had a wicked fever. She’s been fussy and not very interested in eating. I immediately assumed that somebody poisoned the waterhole, as we are now in a new house out in the country and I’ve seen Erin Brockovich one too many times (once. I saw it once.)
Then my bff pointed out the possibility of an ear infection.
Babies get ear infections–who knew? Apparently not this mother of four.
For me, there is no tried-and-true method; there are no absolutes: not for discipline, not for potty-training, not for sleeping through the night. Every child has been so different, and at different times: what worked for a toothless Arbor at 1:00 p.m. eight Tuesdays ago may not work for Arbor with choppers on a Sunday night in May, and it never worked at all for Cheyenne or Mia. I didn’t even try it with Merrick.
My kids are always changing it up.
I need God to parent. I need God to give me other parents who can throw out suggestions at random. Smack me if I ever make one of those “10 Truths about Motherhood” lists of sentimental bull honkey. I know not what I’m doing half the time.
And that’s coming from someone with a daughter in college and three little ones running around the house.
So if you don’t yet have children and you’re not a doctor or a teacher and you feel an urge to tell some poor mother of four everything they need to know about organic baby-food in the time-out chair?
In other news, we are a solid week into life in the real country. Last night I think I saw a coyote. It could have been a raccoon though, my eyesight is really bad. So far, I love it here. And so does the rest of the fam. I’ve been asked several times if we’re going to throw a housewarming party, which is code, I think, for “Can we come see your house?” So if by “party” you mean “vast quantities of Countrytime Lemonade and store-brought cookies and microwave hotdogs while there’s still red dirt all over the floor?” Then YES. Let’s party. We still have some work to get done so that all toilets can be used, but once we wrap up all the loose ends, it’s so on.
In the meantime, if you’re my friend and you’re local, feel free to drop by and check out m’ views: