Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I saw the light at 2 am

"It's always in the last place you look," goes the old saying.

Of course "it" is. Why would one keep looking if "it" has been found?

I've been doing some thinking this week about the way people do things. Style: mommy style, partner style, worker style, boss style, getting mom and dad up in the middle of the night because I can now stand up in my crib but I don't know how to get down style.

I've been thinking about how we all get wrapped up in our individual styles - consciously or not - to the point that not only are we sure that our style is right, but, sometimes, everyone else's is dead wrong.

Parenting has become a method of expression, and ideas are packaged as techniques or lifestyles and worn like Paris Hilton's dog. "Do you do Babywise?" "No, no... we're into Attachment Parenting..." I'm a mother who can not commit to ordering "the lumberjack breakfast" and instead, prefer to order a la carte. Are there nights that Henry is lulled to sleep by Jim or I patting his back? Yup. Are there nights that we close his door and let him cry a little? Yup, particularly lately. Are we better parents for one of those nights than the other? Don't answer that, I'm just trying to make a point.

I am a "live and let live" kind of driver. It works for me to do my thing while being aware of others doing their things. Jim is a driver who flips people off when they are not practicing safe or sensible driving techniques. He does this in a very subtle way and not so much that the other driver is aware they've offended, but that he has recognized their jerkiness and has reacted and has put it behind him. At first I thought "my husband is a passive aggressive driver." Now I know he's just living his own form of vigilante justice. Just like Chuck Norris. If we're both safe and sane drivers, are one of us better for our driving styles?

Forks up or down to dry? Toilet paper to the front or to the back? Communicating hurt feelings or quietly frowning? Paint the toe nails or leave them be?

This week I'm trying to stop buying into my own style hype, and be consciously more accepting of others. I'm also trying to seek out other ways that might make life at Camp Sinki easier, more orderly, cleaner, fuller, smilier. I'm trying to not settle for finding something in the last place I've looked, even if it seems like I've found "it."


Mandy said...

Great post Amy. I have been trying not to label my parenting style - it is what it is and sometimes there is no right answer, just what feels right. I applaud you for many, many reasons!!

Keri said...

First, I love that you just compared your husband to Chuck Norris. :-)

Second, very well said post.

AmyinMotown said...

I call mine "path of least resistance" or "whatever works" parenting. One of the reasons I like you and your blog is that too many parents get hardlined into one style and personally huffy if someone doesn't do the same things. I started to realize I was wrong when I figured out some friends of ours do literally everything I disagree with--and yet? I still like them and they are still what I would consider good parents in that their goal and ours -- happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids who are connected to their family and to others -- seem to be the same. Their kids are sweet and happy and love their mom and dad. Does it really matter that they don't march in lockstep with us? No.(It may when our daughters are teens because they are two peas in a pod in lots of scary ways, but that's the kind of thing we can discuss over beers by that point).

Also, does Jim offer driving school? Because I need some help not cursing and tailgating :-).

Maribeth said...

Love this post in so many ways! I call my parenting style "I'm trying to do the best I can with a 22 month old and a 8 month old, while working almost fulll-time." And, you know what, I think I am doing a pretty darn good job at it.

Christina said...

Virtual high five (or knuckle bump) from a fellow a la carte parent.

Kerri said...

Great post.