The One Phrase that Changed the Way I Parent
Sometimes I go on this here blog of mine and get ready to dish out some Grade-A Pearls of Wisdom on the art (hah.) of parenting, and then immediately think to myself: “CHARLATAN! How can someone whose child regularly fishes for invisible toys in public toilets think of herself as any level of parenting ‘expert?!'”
(This is true. We are 2 for 2–over the course of two days–in the hands-in-toilet-water act these days.)
But then I tell myself, “Self! Guess what? Absolutely no one is a parenting expert. We are all just trudging along–hand sanitizer in hand–hoping our kids don’t fall through sewer grates or wander off with questionable strangers in no-window minivans with motifs of howling wolves painted on the sides. So no sweat, kid! Just keep hacking away!”
So, take this and any parenting “advice” you get with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day we all have to operate within our own little spheres of crazy reality. And additionally, that’s why this advice is as non-advice as you can get. And to boot, it’s pretty damn simple. You’re welcome.
Here it is. Change your “have to’s” to “get to’s.”
Allow me to demonstrate:
“I get to bathe my toddler’s entire body in bleach when we get home because she likes to dive face-first into public toilets!”
Just kidding. Maybe this:
“I get to start the day with three little people who are so silly happy and in love with life that they literally bounce into my bed (and sometimes land on my head) with excitement. How cool is that?”
“I get to have the privilege of guiding these tiny-bodied and big-souled people through this crazy world, and I get to do my best to instill in them some sense of purpose and love, so that they may in turn shine forth that light.”
“I get the divine privilege of watching these babies grow, of absorbing their wonder at the beautiful world we so frequently let pass us by.
“I get eighteen years of watching this awestruck wonder. I get a limited block of time that is so densely packed with crazy sweetness. I get knock-me-on-my-back running hugs; and little sweaty, dizzyingly-sweet napes of neck to snuggle; and long nights of holding tiny warm bodies tight against my chest. Man, I win.”
I believe I first read this piece of advice somewhere on Facebook once (or was it a nursing-induced fever dream?); but either way, it’s solid.
And this one phrase swap–let’s not even call it advice anymore, shall we?–has seriously altered my entire perspective and gotten me through days when I otherwise wanted to run screaming from our house.
So take it, or don’t, but do remember that one phrase that always hits home: The days are long, the years are short… and you get to be there for it all.
In solidarity (and low standards),