Sunday, December 1, 2013
//That Parenting Book Doesn't Know My Child//
Often, I imagine myself setting fire to every parenting book I've ever read. Usually, I imagine this sometime after reading yet another piece of information that causes me to worry or doubt about my own child. I was not prepared for this: the continual information that parents receive. The constant attention to what is normal, what may not be normal and how to get your kid to sleep. I know the information is made to help, but have we not realized yet that it is not helping? Actually, it's harming our families; it's stealing our peace.
Every child is different. That parenting book doesn't know my child. It has not spent time with us, gotten to know us as a family. The matter of fact information leaves so much room for holes, that our minds fill in every little blank and yet we are still left with question marks. Because, really, who the hell knows? We don't know for sure and they are only assumptions.
I was not prepared for the extreme amount of worry that can come with parenting. I actually do not believe in worry to this level. I'd call it anxiety and I think it's being caused by the extreme amount of people who are claiming to know your child but really don't.
As I've mentioned before, when Elliot was born he developed an infection. It became clear he was sick only a few hours after his birth and it was such a hard hit to my expectations. Honestly, I didn't even think of anything going wrong. I know that's strange- but I was not even worried about the birth. Not about the pain or what it would be like. The birth was basically everything I had hoped. But after? The infection knocked me over, left me a bit in shock. And then, I did what every mother shouldn't do. I researched. I researched every little thing, because all of a sudden motherhood was so unexpected. It was scary.
Elliot was arching his back. "It could be reflux, but oh no- the internet says it can be an early sign of autism? Shit, is he autistic? He is very active. He isn't very cuddly, but sometimes he cuddles. No, he's not autistic. But now, he's not talking much. Maybe, he is? What does the internet say."
These internal conversations would be spurred on by anything. Mostly the internet, but sometimes by competitive, comparing mothers. And I spent so much time worrying. I'm sad about that. Even now, when Elliot has a speech delay and I know it could mean a million things, I don't read books about it. I don't research about it. I trust those who know my children. Who have spent time with them.
Because that parenting book doesn't know my child. The purely informational websites have never been in the same room with my child. They've never experienced the complexities of his personality and no child can be defined by a few lines of information.
That's why I love parenting methods that leave room for you to know your child. Trust the people who have taken time to know your child. Make a promise to yourself to never research the things you're worried about on the internet. If you're worried find other mothers who may be going through the same thing. We've become so dependent on information instead of relationships. Let's change that.