Friday, October 21, 2011

Clueless

So here is the latest lesson in parenting I've learned: I don't know what I'm doing. It's not very reassuring to realize this when you have a three week old, it's 3am, and you've still not gone to sleep. I've had a few moments of "when is this child's mom going to come get her and fix everything? Oh yeah... that would be me. Crud."

I've been relatively isolated from the debates regarding child rearing, thankfully. However, I know if I'm not careful I'll get drawn into them. I'm one of those people that likes step by step guides. I like instruction manuals. And this kid didn't come with one. There's no handy little "when I sound/look like this, it means feed/change/burp me." There's no troubleshooting flowchart. There's no "if your model is dysfunctional, call 1-800 for repair or replacement."

I'm all for reading the Bible, but let me tell you, I'd be reading it a lot more right now if it told me how to get my child to go to sleep at 10pm instead of 4am. Or if it told me how to balance pumping with life. Or if it gave me a chart for "this age child should be allowed to scream for this long before rushing to her aid."

There are a ton of parenting books out there, I guess for people like me who want someone else to tell them what to do. But, if parenting is like the rest of life, that doesn't work. Trust me, I'd love for someone else to tell me exactly how to handle many situations in my life. I've tried to get people to do that. I've asked counseling services, trusted adults, church leaders over the years what I'm supposed to do. And no one can tell me exactly how I need to live my life. They can give broad principles, but it's up to me to apply them. The few times I have received specific advice, I've usually regretted taking it.

So I'm going to skim a few books and try out a few methods. But I'm going to try to remember that our family and child is unique and isn't going to adhere to a neat flowchart.

And the law of non-contradiction does not apply to infants.

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