If I believed everything I read in parenting books and on baby message boards, I’m a bad parent. I have done pretty much everything wrong, I’ve risked my kid in countless way for SIDS, given her bottle dependence, bad sleep habits, you name it. Thankfully I have heard from more than one person that my laid back style is an inspiration to them, and I make it look “not so hard.” Or it might just be that I’m apathetic. When the Little Pirate is fussy, I tend to respond with my usual snip: “Nobody Cares, Little PIrate, Nobody Cares.”
Parenting doesn’t have to be hard. I don’t know why other parents make it so difficult. Kids should enhance your life, not shake it up like an earthquake. They should fit into your life, not mop the floor with you. They are as expensive, as needy and as high-maintenance as their parents make them. That’s right. As needy and high-maintenance as Their. Parents. Make. Them. We had a minimal list of crap to buy and we still operate that way. The proposed purchase lists in the books were laughable.
The books threw me off in other ways that I’ll admit. So my advice to any new mother is trust your instincts and don’t read a book, not a web page, not a cocktail napkin with parenting advice because it all pretty much sucks. Just trust your instincts. I believed the books with their stupid feeding schedules and that really put a wrench in my parenting. The Pirate would be crying and I would think, “Well, she just ate a hour ago, she can’t be hungry.” She can, and she was. And it took me the better part of 5 months to finally figure out that I did not have a robot who worked on a clockwork feeding schedule. What did I do?
I shoved a bottle in her mouth in her crib and that magically stopped the crying. Here we are, 10 months later with a 15 month old Little Pirate and she still goes to bed with a bottle. You know what? I don’t give a shit. She sees us pouring her a bottle and she comes running and panting and reaching for it. I’ll give that kid a bottle until her graduation from high school if it makes her happy.
I understand already that my opinions will not run with the norm, that I’m going to be controversial, that I’ll get the “tsk tsk, wait until you….” statements. I have one kid, it will be “wait until there’s 2.” Have 2 and someone would say “wait until you have 3.” I think that’s part of the parenting one-up game and homey don’t play that. Odds are you may read this and realize: “Wow. She really IS an asshole.” And that’s okay. I’ll pat you on the shoulder and tell you, “What took you so long to figure it out?”
My theme for this blog is to outline the difference between parenting today and how we were raised in the 70’s. I find the differences to be fascinating, and I’ll rip them apart one by one. We all turned out okay, so I fail to see where all the changes in how we raise kids now will result in a better generation of people. Maybe someone will enlighten me.
Buckle up. Many of you asked for this, but, it ain’t always gonna be pretty.