Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One thing I know about parenting...

I was talking to a friend of mine, who is 6 months pregnant, and we were discussing pregnancy in one's 30's (no, I am not pregnant, but it seems like everyone I know is).  Someone I know who is in her 20's recently gave birth and she said she had no problems whatsoever during her pregnancy.  She threw up exactly one time, when she had the flu.  I told her to keep having babies, because my friends in their 30's were miserable.  Maybe not all of the time, but they certainly weren't going to describe their pregnancy as no big deal.

Then I was perusing The Happiness Project.  The Happiness Project lists things called Secrets of Adulthood, and the author, Gretchen Rubin frequently links to other bloggers who have posted their own Secrets of Adulthood.  For some reason, this reminded me of the conversation I had with the above-mentioned friend.  I said that while she was having a harder time being pregnant than "20-something," she will probably have more confidence in her mothering, precisely because she's not in her 20's. 

When you're in your 20's you still don't know enough to know what advice is garbage and what you should hang on to.  I believe I said something to my friend along the lines of, "when someone says you have to do something-or-other, you know enough to think, do I really have to? is that relevant? do I care?"

My friend responded with a laugh, "Is that relevant, do I care?! I love you for saying that!"  (I think she may have been getting overwhelmed by the number of baby books out there and the fact that there was no way she could do everything that was being suggested.)  Because by the time you're in your 30's you've learned enough about both life and yourself to know that what someone else tells you may not be relevant, and that, especially when it comes to parenting, you probably don't care how different/strange/whatever you seem compared to the "normal" mom as long as your kid turns out okay. 

I had an Auntie who used to let us draw on the walls.  In very specific circumstances.  As in, right before they were going to be rewallpapered.  This might sound appalling to other parents, but we NEVER drew on walls under other circumstances, and it was made very clear to us that we were only allowed to draw on the walls because they were going to be rewallpapered.  This may not have been a good plan with kids who were more likely to forget the rules, or get out of hand, or color violently (I have, in fact, seen violent colorers. I have no idea where they get the idea that that is acceptable behavior), but Auntie knew that we would follow the rules, and play nicely together, and we had a blast. 

If I were inclined to come up with a Secrets of Adulthood list, up there somewhere around the top would be to figure yourself out first.  It's obviously an ongoing process, but you can't possibly become an adult without knowing who you are.

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