Man, there is a lot of stuff you can worry about when you have a baby. You can delve into though processes you never thought yourself capable of. Like maybe she wakes up in the middle of the night for no reason when she is seven months old. And she hasn't woken up in the middle of the night in, like, forever, and you all of a sudden find yourself wondering what in the name of God you did wrong the night before. Was the bedtime routine not thorough enough? Is she too hot in those pajamas? Too cold? What the hell are you going to do if it happens again? Leave her to cry? Pick her up? But then, if you pick her up, will she expect the same thing the next night? If you leave her to cry will she develop an attachment disorder? The thing is that the baby, most likely, woke up because of a random sound, or an upset tummy, or for no reason at all and all the worrying in the world will have absolutely zero impact on the incident. The baby is healthy and happy and taken care of. Because, of course, you're a good parent.
This first year of being a parent, I've had plenty of those moments. Sometimes they last all day. While I've felt much more confident as a mother each and every month, it's really taken me the entire year to realize just how wrapped up you can get in all the concerns and questions. Wrapped up in the minor details, when you could be doing something a lot more fun.
My mother told me this one story that really exemplifies the kind of behavior I'm talking about. When I was little I went to a preschool that was a co-op, as in the parents had to contribute snacks and go to meetings and whatnot. According to my Mom, one of these parent meetings consisted largely of discussing the fact that someone had brought in Jiffy peanut butter for a recent snack. Jiffy peanut butter, people. Jiffy fucking peanut butter.
My Mom, whose sense of pragmatism is above and beyond, said she sat there in disbelief, wondering how in the world this group of mothers could possibly spend 30 or 40 minutes discussing the evil inherent that is Jiffy peanut butter, in all it's non-organic, non-local, sugar-added glory. How could it possibly be so important, especially in the grand scheme of these families' lives and all the positive aspects thereof? How could such a little thing matter so much?
I'm not making fun of anyone. As a matter a fact, I get it. It makes so much sense that those moms got all riled up about the peanut butter, and they totally had a right to their opinions. But I'm reflecting on my own experience here and I have learned a few lessons. Honestly, the first time I gave Nora something with added sugar, I was like, "Well, there goes the purity of her palate." Really. Now I recognize that line of thought as, well, crazy. It's crazy!
Everybody knows that a little caution never hurts and, in fact, when dealing with an infant, is beneficial. They're fragile and they don't know that, for instance, crawling off a bed and falling onto the floor would result in serious pain. And it's important to feed your child healthy food that you believe in. And to make sure they learn the manners that you think it's important for them to learn.
But the more time I spend worrying about the minor details - the ones that I know really don't matter - the less time we are doing something else. Whatever else. And there is so much to do! And so many places to go!
Also, I don't want to lose myself in all this. I'm Nora's Mom, totally, but I'm also, you know, me. The me that I was before all this. I will tell you right now that my mother is the best mother a person has ever had, no question. But you know what? She is also the most successful woman I know. She's a funny story teller. She's got awesome style. She makes the world a better place.
I want to be a Mom like my Mom. There's no time to worry about the peanut butter, there is fun to be had! After all, the good times are the ones we'll remember.