I saw this the other day and I started thinking about my parenting “philosophy.” I do try to “calm the fuck down” about most things. I also have read, you know, Alfie Kohn, and Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and all those people, and I try, I really do, to parent the way I want to parent, a way I’ll feel proud of when she’s 16 or 21 or 30 or whatever.
I try to think long-term. I try not to focus on whether or not she’s learning her alphabet on schedule or jumping up and down on one foot on schedule (for those of you who are not parents – yes, that’s an actual thing). I try to focus on whether she’s developing a lifelong love of learning, and developing a body she’ll be able to use and enjoy using for her life.
I try not to encourage in her personality traits that will make her childhood easy for me – such as obedience – and instead encourage her to feel what she’s feeling, do what she wants within reasonable limits, and question things, even me.
I try not to say no unless I have to, and when I do, I try to give a reason. Not because she’s owed one, exactly, but because I am not trying to teach her “Do what your mother says”; I’m trying to teach her “Think about what you do before you do it; think about the consequences of your actions. Here’s how.”
Because I’m trying to let her do what she wants within reason, I am constantly monitoring her abilities, her feelings, her physical and emotional ability to handle things. And when she can’t handle things, I try to work with her, not just to comfort her, but to help her figure out how to handle things.
We didn’t exactly subscribe to all of attachment parenting’s doctrines, but I did breastfeed for 106 fucking weeks, and wear Zoe in a Baby Bjorn until she was absolutely too heavy, which, as many of you know, took a while, because she’s teeny. And she did share our bed until . . . oh, yesterday.
I am trying to be the perfect authoritative balance between “I unilaterally restrict everything!” authoritarianism and “I unilaterally allow everything” permissivism. I try to allow her to have her feelings while also teaching her to be strong. I try to make her feel loved and looked after without helicoptering.
I am fucking exhausted.