I have never claimed to know everything, despite what my husband says. Since becoming a parent, it has become appalling clear I know even less than I thought I did.
My kiddo is amazing (said every parent ever). She’s smart, funny, sassy, creative and full of curiosity. She is honestly the greatest thing in my world, which is perhaps why I seem to always second-guess myself when it comes to parenting her – I don’t want to mess up this perfect little person.
She’s doing great – she’s walking, she’s talking and learning something new each day…apparently that includes a swear word, and, yup, that’s on me. My little monkey has quite clearly said, “Oh, s*& t,” a few times now. Not awesome, I know.
She is also super curious about her body and is frequently asking, “What’s this?” The other day, she marched around yelling, “pee-pee, pee-pee,” after she saw me getting out of the shower and I fumbled to explain my parts to her. Is that a parent fail? I don’t know, but it did make me laugh. Now, when she sees me naked she delights in yelling, “pee-pee.”
I worry about her enthusiasm for the nursery rhyme app on my phone. I worry it’s detrimental that she mimics me and pretends the remote controller is a phone. I worry she’s not getting outside enough. I worry she’s cold or getting too much sun when we do go outside. I worry when she decides dinner is not to her standards and knocks it to the dog in dramatic fashion. I worry she doesn’t see enough or she sees too much affection between her dad and me. I worry – that is the consistent emotion I feel when it comes to parenting. And I’m a pretty easy-going parent, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who has high anxiety.
I’m not one for parenting books; they’re too singularly focused on what your child “should” do. I hate that word – should. Mind-blowing fact: not all kids are the same or respond in the same way.
I have no time for moms and dads who think parenting is a competition – “Oh, Jimmy knows blue? Well, Jacob is curing cancer.” Ugh.
I rely on common sense, my life experiences, what feels right for our family and the advice of the tribe of moms on the same wavelength as me. In all honesty, I think my group of “mom friends” is what keeps me sane. These women, and their partners, understand exactly what I’m going through and they aren’t afraid to admit sometimes parenting sucks.
Though I may know less than I thought, I do know this much – support in parenting is key. That’s not to say you have to parent with a partner. What I mean is the support of friends, family and people who just get your sense of humour. You’ll still worry, because that’s what parents do, but at least you’ll have someone to laugh with when your toddler inevitably melts down over something as ridiculous as not being allowed to eat a carrot through a plastic bag.