Friends have asked me where the posts about my great parenting experiences are. Where, they ask, are the submissions about how patient you were, how you used love and respect where you were tempted to use knee-jerk techniques like bribes or yelling? Where are the stories about how you found great reward in parenting with patience and a child-centered perspective? They’re a bit horrified at the stuff I’ve posted so far, and I don’t blame them.
Here’s the problem with blogging: at the end of the day, I want time to write a little something. I don’t have enough left to work on my novels, and so I want to vent about the day. And after a day with dozens of AP successes and wonderful interaction, what I really want to talk about is the one or two moments of frustration, fury, miscommunication, and regret. I don’t want to talk about how well Peanut listens, and how hard he’s trying to both be himself please me. We’re done with child-led weaning, he’s in his own bed, the repeated times we go lovingly and gently to him when he needs help at night are NOT my favorite topic of conversation, and positive reinforcement for great behavior doesn’t make for good reading. There’s no reason to write all about how carefully I measure my responses or find the teachable moment out of the many things we experience. I don’t want to write about how I carefully set boundaries only around that which will help him learn and grow, and let him explore wildly around the stuff that doesn’t matter, can’t hurt him, and won’t make him an icky person later.
I don’t want to spend time on that stuff because that’s the parenting that takes every ounce of my compassion, nurturing, intelligence, and love. The hard work is being present in his needs and development almost every minute of the day, and I really don’t want to rehash it all because it took enough out of me the first time. The necessary consistency of AP parenting is exhausting to me, and I don’t want to write about it.
That’s why I feel so worn to the nub with this child-rearing job. Not because it’s inherently hard to maintain the safety of one kid. But because I throw myself heart and soul into making everything work for him, from a developmental, personal, emotional, and spiritual standpoint. I can’t spend my time complaining that it’s hard to raise a kid without t.v., with a healthy respect for child-centric principles, with an eye to growing a world citizen, and with the daily goal of making most moments count for something. Because that’s not good reading.
Besides, it’s not funny to talk about the moments that work. It’s just not. When our compromises leave us both satisfied, respected, and happy, that’s boring to everyone else. I want to entertain myself when I write, and only the moments of my self-defined poor parenting, or the snipets of my self-consciously pathetic life make the cut here.
Sorry to disappoint you. If you’re looking for good parenting tips, you’ll have to spend all day with us. Whatever you glean is yours to keep. Whatever leaves me shuddering is that night’s post.