The blinders-on approach to parenting
I’m starting to feel like that girl who is like, “I just can’t gain weight no matter what I do.” Though it has nothing to do with my weight.
It appears as though I have a very easy baby, who at 2 months of age is already sleeping through the night.
My mommy friends are totally baffled. They see me and go, “Why do you seem so rested and relaxed?”
And I just sort of shrug and try to be humble because for so, so long I have been on the other side of that equation. Not with babies but with life in general.
I’ve always been kind of a struggler. Not because I’m trying too hard but because I’m not trying hard enough. Or maybe I’m not trying at all.
From the time I was in grade school, I was tagged as an underachiever. I was also a daydreamer, the kid who didn’t pay attention and didn’t take school all that seriously. I was a silly kid who got in trouble for giggling fits and for being “disruptive” in class. Like the time in first grade when I decided we should all smile with our bottom teeth showing instead of our top teeth. We started talking that way with our bottom teeth protruding forward. We made up little code names for ourselves and made up a few words and dubbed our new language “Sky Fly.”
Soon the whole third grade at Squadron Line Elementary School was speaking “Sky Fly,” running around making ridiculous faces and talking like a bunch of idiots and carrying on, not just in the hallways and on the playground but in class. I have to admit, it was addicting to talk like that, and it cracked us up every time. Go ahead, try it. Not only did I get into a lot of trouble for it, but my mom received a phone call from a friend’s parent who was concerned that talking this way would cause her child to need braces.
Unfortunately, this trend continued in high school, where I continued to be both silly and lazy. My friend Sarah says the only thing she remembers from French class our sophomore year is how to say, “Alison is late.” Meanwhile, the only thing I remember is how to say, “I am a pineapple,” but that’s a whole different story. (Je suis un ananas.)
“The bell would ring, and I’d see you walking across the quad in your pajamas like you didn’t have a care in the world,” Sarah recalls. It pained her, she says, because she knew my tardiness would affect my grade. She cared more about my grades than I did.
This same lackadaisical attitude persisted through my 20s when my career took me to San Diego, where surf culture dictates that one must be laid-back to the point of being brain-dead in order to fit in.
It wasn’t much different with my job: For seven months a year, I was expected to show up at an office, but showing up late after two-hour surf breaks wasn’t just acceptable — it was encouraged. The other four months, I traveled around the world to write about snowboarding.
That took me into my 30s, and I landed in Aspen at 32. You guys know the rest.
Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah, the struggle, and my way of dealing with it, which is to avoid trying altogether.
My dad likes to say I am a “late bloomer,” but that’s just because he loves me and is trying to reconcile all that money he spent on private school. I have news for you: Anyone who has the word “freelance” attached to their job description isn’t working that hard. And they more than likely have another source of income (i.e., a trust fund). Just ask anyone who hangs out at Peach’s all day. Yes, I mean you.
There is a price, of course, just like there’s a price for using your credit card to buy that designer windbreaker at Lululemon when you don’t have any money.
The price is that eventually you fall behind. Your friends, the ones who take life more seriously, have moved on and gotten real jobs and real husbands and started their families. You go to like 8 million weddings and spend more of that money you don’t have to get there. Then you go to all those stupid baby showers and try not to have a bad attitude.
So I get it when it’s super-annoying to deal with someone who is not struggling when you are, for whatever reason. And it seems like parenting is a struggle for a lot of people, or at least that’s the sense I’m getting.
I guess this is where my blinders-on, “ignorance is bliss” approach to life kind of works. I’m not consulting parenting books or subscribing to this or that philosophy. I’m not spending the wee hours of the night on mommy chat rooms or going to Baby and Me yoga classes to meet other new moms. Like my dear friend Kiki once said, “There are a lot of morons who raise kids. It’s not rocket science.”
I don’t know; maybe it’s just that I have an easy baby. Maybe it’s because parenting does feel intuitive; I just do what feels right, and a lot of my choices have to do with how I was raised. I’m also super-lucky because we both have amazing families who have done so much to help make our life with baby easier. So there’s that.
Or maybe it’s because it was such a struggle to get here, having a baby this late in life, that I appreciate every single minute. I mean, I struggled to find the right guy, and then I met Ryan. I never thought I could love anyone that much — until I met my son.
The Aspen Princess wants to wish the Grinch a very happy birthday. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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