Before I became a mother, I had a vague idea of what parents did. Feed child, clothe child, try to keep child from beating up other children. It was one of those subjects that I was woefully but blissfully ignorant of – I really didn’t have much use for information like which brand of diapers was best or how you need to move like a frickin ninja to escape infant projectile vomit.
I am still far from an expert, but after I had kids, I crossed over to the Other Side. No, not Narnia. The Other Side of the gap that separates parents from non-parents. The side filled with tiny onesies and 800 sets of plastic keys (seriously, do they even work in the plastic cars? Then WHAT IS THE POINT) and dogs that whisper “Hug meeee” at four in the morning when you’re walking to the bathroom. You can look behind you and see the non-parent side for a little while. Then Dora the Explorer asks you to help her find her map and before you know it the non-parent side is nothing more than a distant memory.
The parent side has lots of surprises. You learn words like “Wubanub” and “cluster feeding” and, in our case, “hyerbilirubenimia.” But one of the most unexpected surprises I encountered was the Mommy Wars. If you’re not familiar, the Mommy Wars is an ongoing battle between mothers (and occasionally fathers) over various methods of parenting. For example: formula feeding vs. breastfeeding, strollers vs. babywearing, cloth diapers vs. disposables, velociraptor vs. t-rex, etc etc. I tend to bop through life in a cloud of glitter and Skittles and assume everyone does the same, so I was really surprised to see how often these issues popped up, not to mention the intensity of the arguments they caused. Articles are flung left and right; everyone from psychologists to school teachers to children’s birthday clowns seems to have a scientific opinion on whether letting your baby sleep in your bed will scar him for life. Sometimes people start snapping their fingers and singing and that’s when you know that it just got real.
As much as I love a good argument, I found myself avoiding these particular fights as I delved into research of my own (fine, as I copied every single thing my sister did). Not because I was offended. Not because I wanted to interview those birthday clowns for myself to see if their science was accurate. No, my avoidance was due to something much simpler. Something that I think has the potential to end these Mommy Wars forever. Are you ready for this incredible secret? Here you go:
Yes. Apathy. I do. not. care. I do not care if you feed your child formula. I do not care if you breastfeed your child. I do not care if your child only eats hot sauce. Not because I am a serene, peace-loving person who can rise above such petty conflicts as I practice yoga in my meditation garden. I am just too lazy to care. I am tired. I am busy. I am constantly losing one of my children. So at the end of the day, whether you strap your baby to your back in a pretty wrap or with several socks tied together, I’m cool with it. Just don’t drop the kid because that’s not cool. I mean, I probably wouldn’t turn you in or anything. Actually, just writing about it has pretty much sapped my energy so go ahead and drop little Timmy; I won’t tell.
This isn’t a humble brag where I toot my own lazy horn and show you how I win all the Mommy Wars due to my lack of judging others and indifference to others’ judgment of me. Despite the awkward, chaotic mess that is my daily interaction with people, I do care what other people think of me. I’m only human. But I am a lazy human, and while I have tried hard to get worked up over the fact that Sally Smith doesn’t believe in disposable diapers…eh. What do I care? Is Sally at my house, throwing away my diapers and forcing me to use cloth ones? Has she hired Tonya Harding to bash me in the knee so I can say a lot of embarrassing things on national television that will follow me forever? No? Then…eh. Sally can have her cloth diapers and I can have my disposable ones and somehow I think the world will keep turning.
So, parents and people everywhere – join me on the Other Other Side. The side where you always feel accomplished because your kids are alive at the end of the day and that’s really all you were going for. The side where all your decisions are right because no one was paying attention to them anyway. You don’t even have to put on real pants. Take the plunge. Cross over. Drop your cares and worries at the gate – your toddler or dog will probably eat them and then you won’t even have to step over them.
Apathy: The real future of parenting. I’d put that on a t-shirt, but…eh.
|Clearly my parenting is superior to yours.|