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Shower the people you love with advice

By April 29, 2007monkeys, thoughts

The coolest baby shower I’ve ever been invited to is happening right this very minute and you’re invited too. It’s for Liz and Tammie and Christina, and there are games and prizes and cute pictures of babies, so go have fun. I hear citymama is even bringing booze, so you can get your champagne on too. Happy happy.

My long-winded advice is rooted in the logistics of handling two kids where previously there was only one (or, in my case, none).

When Zoe and Lucy were born, my parents moved in with us. It was incredible and loving and helpful and essential and I don’t know what loony bin I’d be residing in now if they hadn’t come, but rest assured, “loony bin” would be my address.

And then, after 3 months, they left. And then Bob went to work and there I was facing two babies, both needing my undivided attention. This is what they call, scientifically, a pickle.

My first day on my own, the girls were both napping but were going to be waking up shortly. I was consumed with preparing myself for the worst: What if one woke up, then I started feeding her. Then the other woke up? Or, what if they woke up at the same time? How would I get them both nursing at the same time? (When my parents or Bob were around, I had assistance with this magic trick.) And, more frustratingly, how would I solve this problem for every possible eventual permutation of this question for today and forever so that nothing unexpected ever happens to any of us for the rest of my life as a mother? (Those of you who know me personally will quickly recognize the familiar Laurie anxiety hidden stealthily in this approach.) I was wracked with stress and worry. It reminded me of my early days with a driver’s license when I actually (psychotically) didn’t like approaching a green light since “Oh my god what if it turns yellow RIGHT before I get there? Do I stop? Do I go?” I was much happier finding nothing but red lights!

Then, after about two days of surviving by the skin of my teeth, I figured out the answer. There was no answer that would solve this problem for every possible eventual permutation of this question. There was only solving this problem for this episode. Once solved, it could be counted a success and we could all move on to the next activity. Then, a few hours later, I’d face it again and deal with it. After a few days/weeks/months the problem would change form a bit and I’d deal with that. And so on and so on.

Until one day I looked up and they were 4 1/2 years old.

Which is of course complicated in its own way since at some point you start affecting your child in a “how much therapy is this going to require in the future?” kind of way. But it still comes down to handling each isolated incident until you are capable of making a global assessment of the problem. And then moving on.

Also? Rather than take up any more of your time with some assvice, I offer you instead an antidote to all the assvice you’ll receive: Whatever works. What. Ever. Works. You are the one living this life so you get to make up the rules best suited to your own survival. I’m sure you’re already familiar with this piece of advice, but the ante is upped with two so your confidence may lag at first. Just trust your “whatever.” The sanctimommies can smell uncertainty. And the competimommies aren’t doing it any better.

Good luck to all of you!! And thanks Kristen, Julie, Nancy, and Catherine for inviting me!

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Julie says:

    You are funny. I know what you mean! I finally tossed the self-help books and went with “whatever.”

  • Mom101 says:

    Thank you! I think that’s just great advice. It’s along the same lines as some of the best wisdom I ever heard…something like, “every day prepares you for the next one. Every phase is informed by the one before it.” So smaht, Laurie!

  • Susan says:

    1. I was going to keep a “therapy jar” for just those times when I thought my actions might result in my child needing therapy in 15-25 years, until a therapist friend of mine (a very funny, biting sarcastic one – just so you have some feel for the context) said, “Let ’em pay for their own damn therapy. That’s what I did, all 9 years of it!”

    2.Motherhood is an (extremely complex)algorithm

  • Irene says:

    “whatever works” where were you when Sean and Will were 6 months old???

  • Mary says:

    I’m with mom101. There’s some very smart advice in what you’re saying Laurie, because if we could anticipate and be prepared for every possible problem that came up that would mean we are really in control wouldn’t it? When the reality is that we are not not not in control and we are much better off dealing with things as they happen. Not just with kids but with life in general we should practice being in the moment (which you are, most definitely) and living each day as best we can.

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