ur doin it rong

The thing about parenting is that there are so many, many ways to do it wrong.

I’m not even talking about, like, wrongity-wrong (by which I mean abusive); I just mean the banal, everyday, non-stop knowledge that I am fucking doing this wrong. I am addicted to advice, to data, and to rules; and there are so many, and they are so contradictory, and it’s amazing that there is so much to fuck up with a kid who basically still just eats and sleeps. Here is what I’m thinking much more often than is healthy:

  • If he cries for more than 90 seconds his cortisol levels will rise.
  • If my milk supply is too low, he won’t get enough nutrition.
  • If my milk supply is too high, he won’t get enough hindmilk.*
  • If I don’t swaddle him, his startle reflex will wake him up.
  • If I keep swaddling him his hips won’t develop properly.
  • If he is awake for more than 90 minutes at a time he is sleep deprived and his brain won’t develop properly.
  • It goes without saying that I am slowly poisoning him, as well as wantonly ensuring that by the time he grows up the world will pretty much just be a giant landfill, by using disposable diapers and not making my own soap and diaper rash cream.
  • And let’s not even think about the damage I will be doing in three months when I drop him off at fucking day care.

At a certain point it just becomes noise.

I think the lesson I need to learn, and right quick, is once again upekkha: equanimity. Calm. Trusting myself that I do know what to do, that when we hit that 91st second of crying he won’t actually explode, and that he, and I, will come out the other side intact.

Because most of the time I am loving this. And I’m not doing it wrongity-wrong. And even when I’m wrong I’m doing it with love, and the very best of intentions, and he seems to be doing OK so far.

The brahma-viharas are no joke. Metta to everyone. Karuna to those still slogging up Infertility Mountain. Mudita to everyone who’s feeling joy (shout out to Daryl!). Upekkha to the whole fucking world.

*Can we get a moratorium on the phrase “the thick, rich hindmilk?” It’s on every breastfeeding site, usually followed by a cutesy-poo reference to “dessert.”

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7 responses to “ur doin it rong

  1. Aw, thanks for the shout out!

    I say doing it with love is way more important than doing it “right.” (But I also have to say, I can totally see myself going through the same thought process.) There is no one right way. You’re doing great!

  2. Do you know which is the best way to raise your child? Yours. Even when you make mistakes. Perfect as we all are, at least you, and I, I must add :-), sometimes it is necessary to make mistakes, to learn limits and personality and how to handle stress and how the other reacts, yadayada. So, yes. The world will always find you some fault, and people will NEVER shut the fuck up about this or the other. Whatever. No one else is walking in your shoes but you. There.

    Now, I bet these conclusions come from very amusing stories (amusing now, at the time they surely were very annoying). I would very much like to hear those. Stupidity is infinite, and sometimes amusing.

  3. Well, obviously I don’t have any experience yet, but it sounds like you’re doing it just right.

  4. The child psychologists talk about the concept of a “good enough mother”, meaning that there is a wide band of nurturing behaviours from pretty fucking marginal to amazingly stellar that predicts a child will grow up to his/her potential. My best guess is that you are a little bit beyond the amazingly stellar side of that wide band.
    That being said, I know that it’s hard to believe it. I found it hard to believe myself, and I’m only just starting to see that maybe she is alright with what I’m doing (but I’m liable to mess her up for life any moment now).
    Kidding aside, maybe the books and websites are making you doubt yourself more than they are helping you. Maybe declare a (second) moratorium on reading that stuff and see what happens?

  5. Oh man. This is so familiar. In case it helps any, I did it absolutely “rong” with Bun Bun in many of the same ways. I thought I was pretty chill, and I was relative to what I COULD have been, but very similar doubts plagued me constantly. I so echo what Augusta and Mina say: YOUR way is the best way, and you are loving and smart and thoughtful and brilliant and awesome, and C. is going to be way ahead of the game. Anyway, you already came to this conclusion yourself, so the person I echo most is YOU.

    Plus, who needs hindmilk* when you’ve got DELICIOUS NOODLE MILK.

    *My understanding was that the whole fore/hind thing was actually bullshit.

  6. Ditto to fore/hind question. Bullshit says the mama who was terrified of the green poo. The fact that you would even consider that you might be doing anything wrong means you are doing most everything right. Loved, fed and somewhat slept are the trifecta of parenthood. All of which sound in check. You are doing a great job.

  7. And even when I’m wrong I’m doing it with love, and the very best of intentions, and he seems to be doing OK so far.

    That is a lovely way to sum up how I rather feel about parenting. So long as there is lots and lots of love, it’s hard to go Rong.

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