I know nothing about parenting.
Really. It’s pretty embarrassing. I’ve never finished reading any of the parenting books I’ve purchased. Really, there are only four of them on my bookshelf so that’s not too bad. Or maybe that speaks louder to my short attention span.
But if I’ve picked up anything in the past four years, it’s that…
… Shoot. I forget. Blair started chanting “snack! snack! snack!” and my brain crossed wires.
Oh, I remember. I’ve figured out that it really doesn’t matter how many books or blogs you’ve read, how many parenting classes you take or if your degree is in early childhood development. When it comes to respect in motherhood, there isn’t much of a need for book smart. Street cred’ is the only thing that matters.
I would rather pick the brain of a mom who is living a parallel life to mine than spend time reading a $29.99 book by Dr. Whoever that was written in his faraway cushy office lined with diplomas. He probably gets to pee alone and that nullifies at least two years of education. I want to hear from someone who’s been in the trenches and knows for a fact that my child will, indeed, stop peeing her pants when she’s mad at me.
And now that I’ve been doing this mothering thing for almost 4 years, some people seem to think I’ve earned a bit of credibility on certain parenting skillz. Which is hilarious and flattering and a bit frightening.
I don’t tell you this to be pompous but because it seriously boggles my mind that I’m qualified to offer advice on anything parenting-related. Yes, I’ve dealt with issues that some parents haven’t. But when friends or friends of friends ask me how to deal with a dairy allergy/ crazy separation anxiety/ unusual vaccine reaction/ strong-willed child/ eczema flares/ cloth diapering/ breastfeeding/ a child who never sleeps, and my initial reaction is, “Whaaa? Why are you asking me? Go ask someone who had time to brush their teeth this morning.”
And then I remember that although any advice I offer may, in fact, be insightful, what people really want to know is that it will get better. Whatever is plaguing them will end. Or it won’t and they’ll figure out how to deal. And one day, someone will mention that their child is having an issue and they’ll be able to offer advice or a sympathetic ear. Because credibility is earned in the messiest, most heartbreaking and exhausting moments of mothering.
You don’t read a recipe and call yourself a chef. Being a mother is the same. You need to experience it, feel it and live it along the way.
And then you earn street cred’ in the (mother)hood.