Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I don't read parenting books

I work with some amazing people. Many of them are full-time working parents. On any given day, you can walk into the staff kitchen during lunch and witness some of the most interesting conversations about parenting: discipline, spousal relationships, work life balance, potty training, healthy cooking, sickness. You name it. There's usually banter, since not only are my colleagues smart and multifaceted, but they're also passionate and opinionated.

Today the lively conversation was about a parenting book called duct tape something or other. I missed the beginning of the conversation and I missed much of the middle and end, to be honest, because I found myself sucked in to obversing the conversation unfold. One was trying to give advice, based on what she'd read and had success with. Another had read 2 pages and was already skeptical, based on her own parenting experiences. Here I chimed in briefly, "you guys read parenting books?!"

People read parenting books?! One time last year in a moment of sleep-deprived desperation, I succumbed to a book on sleep. I didn't get very far, before I felt completely bewildered. None of the suggestions felt right. They felt too hard, too unnatural. And my baby rejected them too. As a new parent, it took all the courage within me to set aside self-doubt (and that dang book) and rely on my gut. And my baby. 

Sure there are nougats of truth in those books, but if you're a parent searching for answers or hard and fast rules, it's hard not to take the words of the "experts" for gospel and live by them without exception. And the problem there is that as a parent, with living breathing children, you will never fully live up to that gospel. You will ultimately make a mistake or veer from the path and feel like a failure.

I'd much prefer to observe my colleagues at the lunch table and pick and choose the parts that sound good. I'd much prefer to get advice from a friend who is in the same thick of it that I am. I'd much prefer to see how my sister handles a situation, and then choose my own variation. I'd much prefer to watch my own child's cues and let her help direct our path. To get and weigh and assess feedback from teachers. And see how my husband handles working through the trials. 

And make mistakes, but feel ok about it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

is this dialogue?

Two nights ago, as I was getting ready for bed, my husband walked into the bathroom and began, "I think I'll wear my new Vans tomorrow." I searched his face to do a quick read of emotion and all I could see was a stoic, weary visage staring back at me. This was serious.

It was a few minutes before midnight on a Monday and our first meaningful conversation all day (and last chance at any conversation for 2 weeks) was a barebones declaration of his foot fashion choice for air travel. But I had no good alternatives to suggest, so...

"Really?!" I replied. "I'm so happy for you."

He looked back at me quizzically and then relaxed his face into a soft chuckle, finally I suppose realizing the comedy in the moment. But we didn't go on to talk about shoes, socks or otherwise. It was late and we were exhausted. We kissed goodnight and fell into bed.

He would wake up 4 hours later and get on a plane to China.

Fast forward a couple days and again I find myself searching for the right words. Time is short and so are characters counts on my iPhone. I type out a quick message from work hoping Hubby will get the message in the next 24 hours. Bonus if I get a response.

I type, "You make it to China ok? Mealy went to dr with me this morning and got to hear the baby's heart beat. She was wide eyed and fascinated. So cool. Baby is healthy. Strong heart beat."

Ten hours later, I do get a reply. Positive and affirming in under ten words.

I don't really need much more than that. Really. Let the words live in the subtext or in a good book. Or a good argument. (But let those be few and far between.) This is how we communicate these days when life things get in the way. 

We learn to adapt our expectations and interactions in a way that works with what we've got, right now, in the moment.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

fresh start

It's early January, it's a Saturday and it's rainy. I just got home from a shopping trip downtown and returned with two boring things: a pedometer and a new yoga top. This is not about New Year's resolutions. At all. I don't believe in those. But something about this soft, quiet, wet day inspired me to think forward. Holy crap, I'm going to have a baby in two and half months. 

It knocks my breath out to climb a few stairs. How the heck am I going to make it through child birth??

So the top is to encourage the inner yogi in me and the pedometer is to remind me to get off my butt and walk.

And the return to writing? I guess maybe that is some kind of resolution. But I hope it lasts. My friend share an article recently about the therapeutic nature of writing. Something I've always known to be true, but have lost sight of. It was a good reminder. So there you go. 

Hello again!

LinkWithin - 4 posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...