You Can’t Do Everything…

As a parent, one of my favorite small pleasures is hearing soon to be parents talk about the way they are going to raise their child. The things they will and won’t do, and all the parenting plans they have. These include things like how much TV the kid will watch (I love when parents say “none”… that’s adorable), they will only use cloth diapers, they will only use organic baby food, etc. These decrees of intent are always amusing, and I’m sure my wife and I were guilty of a couple too. Not that I would know, I can’t remember anything B.C. (Before Child).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to hear people excited about being parents, and I understand wanting to raise your children in the best environment possible. However, until you actually have your baby it is simply impossible to understand the task you are about to undertake. Raising a kid is exhausting, and adding a pile of self-imposed rules and regulations to it just makes a very difficult job near impossible. In short, you cannot do everything, and that is completely OK.

Here is what I tend to tell new parents. Pick a thing or two that is really important in your house and fixate on those. In my house we made all our own baby food (well 99% of it), and my wife nursed our daughter for 2 years (and nursed exclusively for 6 months before solid foods). These were the things we chose to focus on. Do I think these are the most important things? No. They are the things that worked for us. That’s the bottom line, parenting is all about finding what works for your family.

I have friends who only use cloth diapers, and make their own chemical free soaps. In some families those may be attainable goals, but in our house it simply wouldn’t work (mostly due to the fact that I can’t even imagine the laundry involved in cloth diapers, and any soap I make will probably somehow get you dirtier than you were before use). As I have stated many times on here, I don’t believe there is one right way to parent. That being said, I am pretty sure that driving yourself up the wall over every detail is probably causing you more stress than it is worth.

He must have got his hands on my homemade soap.

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