Or brain surgery or even physics. It’s harder; it has no rules and no actual right or wrong. It’s motherhood, parenting if you will. No matter the number of children you have, the formula for raising each tiny being is never the same. It completely boggles my mind. Take math for example, formulas and equations. Use them and you get answers. The same can be said for science, I’ve seen enough Big Bang Theory to know that Sheldon Cooper and company have a specific set of rules and regulations to do their jobs correctly. However the most important job in the world… Nothing.
Sure there are books. My favorites are those written by doctors, who are men, or women with nannies. I’ll admit I do love Harvey Karp and his “Happiest Toddler on the Block”, but it’s only because it gives you as many options on how to deal with your brats as a Starbucks menu. Where is the book that says, “So your daughter refuses to wear red, here is the answer”? What about, “So your infant looks at you blankly, here is a list of things not to worry about”? Haven’t found those…
After a week of “sleep training” I’ve decided that I know absolutely nothing about raising children. Would you believe me if I told you I actually took a behavior modification class in college? I even got an A, but alas I could not modify my toddlers behavior to “go in the big potty” until just before Thanksgiving. We had been trying for a year. I also cannot modify my infant’s behavior to go to sleep before 7:30 pm. Even though she is tired and hasn’t napped all day.
Is it crazy that I actually thought that I would know something about babies and kids the second time around? I really thought that I would be a little bit more put together with baby #2. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ll admit that my mommy instinct is more in tune. I am able to let things go easier. Like Mac didn’t crawl right away, oh well. She wasn’t interested in solid food so quickly, no big. I went on an overnight trip when she was just shy of 8 weeks. Things that I would have lost my *s* over when Caitlin was a baby. The second time around, no big deal…
Big deal however when I find that the expectations I set for baby #2 have met their demise. Case in point, I swore that Mac wasn’t going to be a mamma’s girl. That I would do a better job this time at raising a more independent infant. Go ahead and laugh. Those LaLeche League peeps who say that your baby will not bond as well if you don’t latch them to your boob are dead wrong! That kid sticks to me like glue, most times clutching my clothes in her tiny fists. No independence here. Also #2 was to sleep better and in her crib. Well if you are my friend on Facebook you know that this was an EPIC fail. Not only did Mackenzie hate, I mean despise her crib, she refused to sleep alone when met with sleep training. So out with the crib, and to a foam mattress on the floor… Good until little Mac started crawling 3 days in, and in the process of crying it out, crawled off said foam, to the door, and cried it out while banging her head against said door. So much for expectations…
Am I really upset by this? No not really. I’ve just learned that my kids, your kids, the neighbors kids are all different. There is no one right way, and there are certainly no wrong ways. Rules to parenting and motherhood are impossible since each child is different. They are born with their personality. No joke, Caitlin literally popped out in a winter of discontent that continues. Sure, she’s a happy kid, well adjusted at times, but never truly content. Mackenzie was challenging IN UTERO. That’s right; she was challenging, demanding, and testing my patience in the womb. Not once while carrying her could I forget she was there. Then she was born, and her presence is at times overwhelming. I challenge someone to find me a book that would set the tone for what wars I’ll be waging in the future… Or today for that matter.
I guess it would be a boring world of beige if we could all have the same owner’s manual for our children. They would all be good, eat their vegetables, hate soda, and watch Anderson Cooper 360. They would all go to Harvard or Yale, play the piano, and grow up to be doctors or lawyers. No thanks. Some of my proudest mommy moments are when Caitlin requests Starbucks tea, from an actual Starbucks, or as she says the “Mermaid place”. When she watches Glee, or that she loves the first 2 “Edward and Bella” movies. I’m hoping Mac will want to be in a band or play lacrosse. You know something completely badass… They have to find their own paths, just like I have to find mine. I think that’s what it’s all about, and a book can’t really live it for you.
Motherhood is truly learning from your mistakes. Daily instances of on the job training. I guess that’s what makes it fun, and what prompts us to have additional children. I remember saying that by having baby #2; I was getting my chance at a “do over”. You know to get my second chance at success… They are alive and well, they laugh, they eat vegetables, and they like ice cream… Success right?
Oh and a shot out to those moms that are rocket scientists and brain surgeons… God bless you and your infinite brain power… Write a damn book will you?