Okay…I haven’t STOPPED worrying. So much to worry about, birth, new baby, how on earth I’m ever going to leave the house again with all this $!@* snow and ice and a kid who won’t walk in the snow and the crosswalks aren’t crossable with a stroller. BUT, I have found a small amount of peace in motherhood strategy. And from a book of all places.
Last week I read Instinctive Parenting : Trusting Ourselves to Raise Great Kids by Ada Calhoun. I knew Ada back in Austin when we were both disgruntled New Yorkers living in the Lone Star. And I LOVE her book. Right before I read it, I spent an evening online looking up the best waterproof pads for changing tables and cribs, reading reviews, cross referencing. Even as I was searching I was thinking about the other things I could be doing with my life and how silly it all seemed. Don’t even get me started on the double stroller thing.
Ada writes about her experience raising a child in the city and how all we need to raise a great kid are three basic essentials, shelter, food and love and to teach them to be kind and responsible human beings. And the rest, how we do that, is all up to us, you, the individual. It’s all written in short chapters perfect for my attention span and it’s very honest and frank and funny and if I had to recommend ONE parenting book of the hundreds I’ve looked at, this would be it.
What I’ve learned in the past two years of mothering on the fringes of Park Slope is that EVERYone is going to have an opinion about everything and I spend a lot of time keeping my parenting opinions to myself because I don’t really want to have to defend my decisions OR have anyone attempt to sway me in another direction, because truth be told, I’m highly susceptible. So vaccination, circumcision, baptism, plastic toys made in China, I generally don’t engage, especially if someone is busy telling me how doing something one way or the other is going to irrefutably damage my child. I have an annoying tendency to smile and nod and say something about oh how isn’t that nice.
But this book… reading through it, I had an Oprah ah-ha moment. That small stuff, it doesn’t matter. I need to do what works best for me and my family and my kid and not spend more than 5 minutes thinking about things like waterproof changing pads or watching Elmo or how many snacks he eats, if that’s all he’s eating right now or the fact that he doesn’t dig on wasabi or Indian food or kale or the HORROR of juice. Sometimes juice is good. In fact, I might go have some juice right now.
Thanks Ada. It’s a swell read and I’m happy you wrote the book and have given us a good reason to take a deep breath, hug the kids and go eat some m-n-ms.