NOT Reading Parenting Books Has Made Me a Better Parent
Some may say that as single mom, I should read MORE parenting books – instead of the zero that I have read. But honestly, when I was pregnant, I felt left out of that party any time I read anything related to parenting – regardless of the approach. “Make sure to make time for your partner…be sure to leave your partner with the baby so you can have time for yourself…it is important for your partner to bond with the baby” etc, etc, etc. Yes, I know, there was probably a lot of beneficial information in all of the books that I dismissed, but beyond that, anytime I thumbed through any parenting book, it referred to parents, as in plural. And in my family, there is a parent – as in singular.
And now, I am nearly 2 years in, I still haven’t sought out any parenting advice books at all. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, especially in a city like New York where there is a tendency to overanalyze and over intellectualize just about everything – all while attempting to sound like it just comes naturally. And maybe you are reading this and thinking, “But (gasp) how has she decided between attachment parenting, and helicopter parenting, and time outs and positive reinforcement and crying it out versus rocking the baby to sleep?”
Listen, I am really busy, but we all are, and I am not going to hang this up on that…we all know you can find time to do something you really want to do. Yes, I could read a chapter of something here and there on the subway into the office. But I don’t. And I think that is because in the quiet moments I have between the demanding roles I play – I am busy reflecting on how I am doing and more importantly, how my daughter is doing.
Yes, I do have moments of utter doubt, like when my daughter says, “Damn it” for the third time, or when she asks, “Where’d Daddy go?” for the umpteenth time (which is equal parts heartbreaking and infuriating, but that is for a separate post) – but that’s when I turn to my committee of family and friends and ask their advice, and they typically turn around and speak from their own personal experiences, and take into consideration our unique family structure.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I am so concerned that I’m permanently screwing her up that I pass on buying coffee so I can add a couple more bucks to the therapy fund – HERS not mine. But all jokes aside, I think in this age of dissecting and criticizing, oh, everything, we can forget to follow our guts and listen to our hearts. Maybe I am crazy, or incredibly simple minded, but the more I parent from my heart, the more I believe in myself as a mom.