Thursday, January 21, 2016
I’m stating clearly, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about my opinions as you read this, that I think parenting advice is absolute bunk. “Parenting” books are a million, probably BILLION dollar industry that exists solely to make money for authors and publishers at the cost of your confidence and instinct. I’ve been the parent of a newborn three times and hope never to return to that bleak hellscape. There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used to torture people. Every parent that has ever parented since the beginning of time has thought “I must be doing this WRONG! There’s NO WAY this could be the normal circumstance of raising a child!” Spoiler alert. Parenting is a fucking hard job and there is NO EXPERT that can tell you how to do it because no one has ever parented your child before.
And now, bless us, there is the internet where any asshole with a digital camera can wipe the frosting off their kid’s chin, prop them up next to “baby’s first periodic table” and pretend for 30 seconds that they know what the fuck they are doing. And hooray! Maybe they have it all figured out, I can’t say for sure, but I do know 100% that they don’t have it figured out with YOUR kid, and YOUR life and YOUR schedule of crucial but inevitably neglected tasks.
Pinterest is a breeding ground for helpful advice from well meaning strangers. Pinterest will tell you in NO uncertain terms that YOU are failing at life. There are literally thousands of to-do lists, meal plans, check lists, work out challenges etc. for you to print off and post on your refrigerator to be lost among the expired coupons, soccer practice schedules, and lists of unpurchased school supplies. These “free printables” (excuse me but WHAT? You are going to, FOR FREE, create another piece of paper to clutter up my life and make me feel guilty about not doing ENOUGH? THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH!!) are always full of words like “simple” and “just” and “routine,” promising that if you “Just include these simple steps in your daily routine,” that your life will be magically transformed something from the centerfold of Martha Stewart’s special House Porn edition.
I got news for you. There is “just” nothing “simple” about a household “routine.” “Just do 10 push-ups before every shower!” Sorry but I fail to see how doing 10 push ups once a week is going to do fuck-all for my core strength. “Just print out this simple meal schedule for routine weeknight dinners!” Great, sounds good. I’ll just go shopping for all of these things that I don’t normally buy during the ten minute long gap in my schedule and then spend an extra half hour making something that half my family won’t eat. Simple! “Just follow these simple steps to streamline your housekeeping routine.” I would FUCKING LOVE to wipe down my counters every morning after unloading my dishwasher and making my bed. That would be utterly fan-fucking-tastic, except that the school is actually super uncool about dropping your kids off unfed in their pajamas. I KNOW?! Judgemental fuckers, right?!
I do have one life hack that will totally simplify your daily routine though. Stop believing in the perfect routine where everything gets done and everyone is happy all the time. It’s the modern fairytale, and it’s basically as likely as opening your door and finding your fairy godmother standing there with a pair of glass slippers for you. Good enough is GREAT. There is always going to be SOMETHING that falls short. The best that you can do is to define for yourself how bad it can get before it’s REALLY falling apart. That’s going to be different for everyone! And the bloggers and the pinners have a different breaking point than you do. Maybe you really do fall apart if your bed doesn’t get made every morning. That’s great! Make the bed! But something else is going to slide a little bit while you’re doing it. AND THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND OKAY.
Good enough. It’s as good as you get.