Sorry — I'm Too Tired to Discuss Parenting Philosophies with You
Is Grant a helicopter dad? Or a tiger father? Or an attachment parent? Or just... exhausted?
I legitimately have no parenting philosophy. I don't have time for it. I'm too tired to think about it.
The oversaturation of books and articles about parenting styles leaves me feeling like a hamster stuck on a wheel. I'm already busy worrying about "that rash" and whether or not he's sleeping enough. I don't have the energy to take an online quiz that will tell me which animal best represents my parenting style. Plus, I think I already know: a sloth. One of the really gay ones.
There seems to be a new parenting book released every day; it's always "the next big thing." It's true that the world is changing and scientific discoveries are made all of the time. We know more about the brain today than we did a few years ago. But I don't need another convoluted article feeding my anxiety about taking care of my child. I just don't. Besides, I have my hands full trying to unpack what it means to be a gay parent.
As a young child, I still remember my mom's bookshelves filled with titles by parenting expert, Barbara Coloroso. With three lively children, I am sure she was looking for all the help she could get. We were a handful. As useful as the content of those pages may have been, they were likely most useful when acting as a solid base for the many towers we constructed. Or to be thrown in our general direction when we were fighting.
Today, with parenting blogs numbering in the tens of thousands, child rearing has never felt so complex. With children's mental health finally getting the attention it deserves, more "experts" are popping up every day. It's exhausting. So I've made the decision that, for now, I choose none of the above. I'm taking this adventure one day at a time. My reading diet is currently limited to the following areas: how to make your baby sleep through the night; taking babies on an airplane without divorce; and how to find time to have a shower. That takes up 99% of my brain's bandwidth.
After a year of being part of this club, I know that parenting is not a science. It's more of an art. Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes you need to give up and start again. Sometimes you realize you don't have all of the supplies you need (or the right supplies). But there's no exact science to the day-to-day, in-the-trenches life of a parent. At the end of the day, you might have created a masterpiece. Or you've just made a huge mess. But, most likely, you've done your best and that's just fine, thankyouverymuch.
As I'm writing this, I am betting that I could find an article called, "Which Renaissance artist best represents your parenting style?" Sigh.
Perhaps, one day, I will wake up and realize that I've been a Dolphin Parent all along. But, most likely, I will continue to wake up each day, give my child a big hug, and just think about how tired I am.
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