The Path of Moderate Resistance

I believe that taking the path of least resistance–while very Tao, maaan, VERY Tao–is usually the lazy path, the indecisive path, the path of fear and trepidation and the path least likely to lead to change or measurable results.

I also believe that taking the path of most resistance–of choosing to do something difficult for the sake of doing it or because it’s the accepted thing to do, or somebody bullied you into it–is pointlessly messing with the natural flow of life and will probably lead to failure, pain, fear, and loss.

By the way, this is not a political post. I feel like I always have to clarify that these days.

My son had a doctor’s appointment recently and when his snarky condescending doctor asked about his sleep habits, I told her (some of) the truth: he still wakes up at night but less often. Sometimes he goes back to sleep on his own, sometimes he calls for me and I have to lie down with him to get him back to sleep.

She didn’t say anything, but she did give me the wicked side eye. She’s a proponent of sleep training, you see. She has three children and she’s a doctor so she knows everything there is to know about children and sleep habits. Except for children who hate sleeping, of course, which is my child.

I know that if I had asked (and belieeeeeve me, I learned not to ask for her advice or opinion a long time ago), she would have chided me for not reading the 6 books she recommended to me forever ago and told me that I’m a horrible mother for helping my child fall asleep. She also once told me that if I rock my infant son, he’ll still be 13 years old and expecting me to rock him. I’m absolutely positive that’s true. All 13-year-old boys who were rocked to sleep demand their mothers rock them every night. That’s common knowledge, right?

But my son’s like me: busy minded. And it’s hard for us to fall asleep. So I lie down with him. We watch a couple of videos on my phone (also a no-no according to everyone who can sleep without help). We talk about what we did that day or about his toys or about the video we just watched. And I let him snuggle up to me and pull my head toward his for kisses until he falls asleep.

I don’t think I’m taking the path of least resistance. I don’t co-sleep (unless I fall asleep there which… happens but it’s not a parenting philosophy so much as a pitfall). I don’t succumb to every pre-bed time request (more water, more videos, more play time).

But I refuse to take the path of most resistance because of the damage I know it’ll do. He’s still a young toddler and I don’t see anything wrong with helping him get to sleep. I do all the things with him that I do on my own to help me fall asleep. When he gets a little older, I’ll teach him that he can do all of those things by himself. But I’m not going to leave him crying or screaming or helpless to get his body to rest when I know what the problem is and how to solve it. That’s just cruel.

I get the feeling that a lot of the “training” activities the “experts” are so fond of are just excuses for adults to be selfish and force their children to be more convenient. Potty training at 16 months? It’s because you don’t want to change diapers anymore. Cry It Out? It’s because you want to get more sleep. I like convenience too but I also enjoy not screwing up my kid for the sake of my ME time.

30nn9kz

Parents Magazine Blames Me

Dear Parents Magazine,

I just spent two and half hours trying to get my toddler to go to sleep. It’s 10:10pm and I am exhausted, emotional, and have lost all sense of chill.

Because even as I tried all of my regular tricks, all the rocking and singing and counting and rhythmic breathing that sometimes works, one thought echoed in my head.

Because even though sometimes it just takes a little longer for my son’s busy brain to calm down and although frustrating, I can usually keep my cool by reminding myself that he’ll fall asleep eventually, this one terrible thought plagued my tired brain.

This one thought brought me to tears 4 separate times over the course of those two and a half hours.

This one thought, which was the actual SUBTITLE of your latest sleep fixes article (which really just spouted off all the usual sleep advice that has never worked for us) stabbed repeatedly at my heart:

It’s Probably Your Fault

You know what I don’t need, Parents Magazine? One more fucking source telling me how inadequate I am as a parent. You know what I don’t need? To be told outright that if my kid doesn’t fit the mold, there must be something wrong with ME.

You know what I don’t fucking need?

Parents Goddamn Magazine.

But I’ll cancel my subscription tomorrow. Tonight, I’m going to rest comfortably, maybe even in my son’s bed if he wakes up again, because you don’t know me, you don’t know my son, and your useless rag will be in the garbage tomorrow morning.

 

My Beeswax is Over Here

Today I went to a playgroup and it was not awful!

A neighboring town’s library holds a 45 minute playgroup every week and since my search for affordable day care has gone horribly… so so horribly*, I’m checking out free options for kid interaction instead.

*I should explain. Daycare would be helpful for work reasons but more than that, I want to socialize my shy kid. Turns out, part-time day care is more than I would make working extra hours. I could have a fleet of cars for the price of part-time day care. I could have a much bigger house. I could spend a weekend a month in Las Vegas for the amount they want me to pay for part-time day care. So… playgroups, here we come.

We went on An Adventure today! Our first trip to the library! Our first playgroup! Our first time spent with multiple children of the same age as my little guy! Very Exciting… for Mommy. The kid, not so much. I’m thinking it might take more than one visit for him to acclimate.

c3701b8147a87663f25cf2bf55f4ba19The reason I’ve avoided playgroups until now, and I really am starting to sound like I have some major beef with them, but honestly it was because of Scary Mommy. I’ve read so much anti-other mom bologna, so many The Five Awful Moms You’ll Meet At Playgroup-type articles, so very many “Hover Moms are Ruining Everything!” rants that I got stuck in an introvert fear bubble and assumed the very worst.

It really wasn’t that bad. There were hover moms and sit back & watch moms and grandmas and a grandpa. There were kids who cried, kids who stomped around, kids who spun and fell down, kids who tried to take all the toys, kids who attached themselves firmly to their mommy and refused to let go until the instruments came out (that would be my kid), and totally chill participating kids. It was normal. Totally normal! This is how kids are. This is how the people who care for them are. It’s really not that big a deal.

Yeah, one kid hopped on the back of the chair my kid was sitting on and tried to push him off. His mom came over and grabbed him and apologized. There was a kid wandering around yelling adorably at people. We all thought it was cute and didn’t care. There was a 2 year old the size of a 5 year old who ran around at the back of the room. It was fine. There was a kid who screamed at 10 minute intervals. Whatever.

Maybe some of the caretakers were cranky, maybe there were glares and glances and judgment but I didn’t notice. I just focused on my kid and the group leader and thought it was lovely. Maybe that’s the secret right there: mind your own beeswax and everything will be fine.

We’re going again next week. I might be the more excited of the two of us.

I Refuse to Feed My Child Unless He Gets Me Facebook Likes

I am SO silly. Here I was complaining about all of those uber negative Scary Mommy Shamer articles not even REALIZING that the articles getting the most interactions were the super douchey ones.

Lesson learned. Wait, let me rephrase.

Three Things To Do If You Want More Nasty Comments on Your Articles:

  1. If you want all the attention, you have to be a turdface.
  2. If you want readers, you have to use clickbait titles.
  3. If you want to feel superior, you have to put down ALL THE PEOPLE.

 

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I think I need to stop reading Scary Mommy, ya’ll. It just drags me down.

 

I’m the Best… Around

One of the things I try to impress upon the kids I work with in my after school program is that we can be proud of our achievements without being a braggart, that it is possible to celebrate ourselves without putting anyone else down.

I mean, of course there are people who will be hurt regardless which is why I hate Scary Mommy Shame Articles* promoting the idea that if you can’t have it/be it/do it, no one else should either. There will always be THOSE people who can’t let anyone else have anything nice. But most people, I’ve found, are able to celebrate our wins with us as long as we’re not a total turd about it.

Point being, humility doesn’t have to be “don’t look at me, don’t appreciate me, I’m nothing.” It can be, “this is what I can do/did well and I am proud of that.” And we can all clap and say WELL DONE, SIR! WELL DONE, MA’AM! and then move on with our lives.

fridare-winner

This is all just to say that I won #FriDare on Twitter this week and I’m proud of that. But let’s not make a big deal, huh? I’m trying to be humble here.

 

*I’m not trying to bully Scary Mommy because there are a lot of good articles on there. The ones that keep popping up on my Facebook feed (and maybe I just need more positive friends who share less hateful crap) are the rah rah, YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTAH THAN ME?! type and I am So Sick of them.