Are you one of my Facebook friends? I don’t mean a fan of this page; I mean one of my friends. Probably not since I keep it down to my closest 250. Also, I generally don’t stay friends with people who are quiet on Facebook — or those who are too loud and post too much, or those with whose political views I disagree or those who put their 3-year-old child in a backless booster seat.
Also, I’m particular about people with whom I attended school.
I attended two different high schools, both with around 1000 students — the Facebook friend possibilities are endless. But back then, I was just another self-conscious teenage girl who never felt good enough. I wasn’t thin enough, smart enough, cool enough, funny enough or pretty enough. Can you believe that — I thought I WASN’T FUNNY ENOUGH!! For their part, the kids at my schools were pretty snobby, so my feelings weren’t entirely unfounded. Anyway, If I didn’t like you in high school, chances are I’m only accepting your friend request so I can examine some current pictures of you, make fun of you and then unfriend you, feeling smug.
Clearly I’ve matured a lot since high school.
But a funny thing happened for those who have made the cut: after being subjected to my endless links about homebirth, nursing, homeschool, not vaccinating etc, I have become the go-to person for questions about attachment parenting.
(I’ve also answered a few colorectal surgery questions, and recommended
50 Shades of Grey On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves.)
This is so awesome! I am so honored when people ask my advice. And also envious — my first three kids were not parented in the way I now advocate, so anyone who “gets it” before their fourth child is doing better than I did.
Keeping me accountable and honest is another factor. I don’t want to pretend I don’t struggle with my kids; I don’t want to espouse the virtues of gentle discipline when I’m screaming and hitting my kids. If someone asks me for advice and I suggest How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, I better interact with my kids in such a way that would make Alfie Cohn proud.
My latest parenting trick is apologizing when I’ve screwed up. This is revolutionary, right? When I lose my temper, or behave in a way that makes me uncomfortable because it’s not up to my standards as a parent, I tell my kids I’m sorry.
I don’t make excuses because that gets in the way of the sentiment of being sorry. Apologizing while simultaneously explaining why I screwed up in the first place only serves to attempt to absolve ME of regret; I think it cheapens the apology.
So, my latest advice is the following: say you’re sorry when you make a mistake. Your kids will learn that you’re human, and that all humans screw up — and deserve forgiveness.
And also, homebirth, breastfeed your baby til he’s 7, don’t circumsize or vaccinate, cosleep, coshower, wait on introducing foods, don’t use antibacterial soap and when in doubt, put some coconut oil on it.