I’ve had 21 years to experience and think about parenting, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve learned a few things along the way. I did say “a few.” Cuz it’s hard. But mostly I think it’s intimidating, because kids are little people that we are somehow entrusted to keep and raise and, if we’re overachievers, to nurture and encourage and guide and, you know, feed. And more than ever, it’s like we have someone (many someones) looking over our shoulders to make sure we’re doing it right. Are we doing it right? Who the hell knows. I do a lot of “trust your gut” parenting, which gets me partway there, I think. But just a few short days ago, I completely lost my shit with the kids, which I am not against doing, given the right, er…wrong, conditions. So that in and of itself didn’t send me running to the parenting section of the bookstore. Really it was the look of fear in the eyes of the four children staring at me. And the fact that they all went completely pale. And that I made the 8-year-old cry. Okay, so I needed to do something differently.
I had sworn off parenting books almost two decades ago, when a parenting book blythely advised me to boil all the bottles (ran out and bought glass bottles), the rubber nipples, and the rings that hold the nipples on. All this involved a big pot of boiling water, tongs, drying towels, and endless gobs of time. The author then expected me, having just boiled all the evil yuck off the bottles, et al, to somehow keep my scurvy, nasty germs at bay while assembling bottle, nipple, and nipple ring (really, I just wanted to say “nipple” and “nipple ring” in my opening blog post). Irritated by this steaming pile of poo advice, I quit reading “expert” advice and tried to just be thoughtful in my approach.
But, here I was, many years later, STILL parenting, and needing some guidance. So, like I do whenever I have a problem, I headed–nay, scampered–to the bookstore. And since I’ve re-entered the world of parenting advice publications, I might as well share what I’m learning (especially since a lot of the stuff is horribly written and painful to read, even when it does contain bits of wisdom).
For obvious reasons (aforementioned child terrorizing episode), I’m starting off with screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel. I’m hoping it lives up to its title. I’ll let you know how it goes. Peace.