30 days

I have decided to set myself a challenge – no complaining for 30 days. And no buying things. I buy too many things.

Writing today feels creaky and full of dust and doubt and criticisms. I’ll push through because frankly, I need an outlet.

Since the birth of my daughter 14 months ago I have been bombarded with lessons of new things that require my consciousness. Mostly I feel energized and dedicated to this deepening of awareness of the world I inhabit, but sometimes trying to get it right in every area feels like a lot. Eat right, sleep right, parent right, love right, think right, exist on this planet right. It’s exhausting. Was that a complaint?

The pressure we put on ourselves as parents is huge. There’s always something to feel guilty about. Am I talking to her enough? Was that nutritious enough? Should I play with her more? Less? Is it too early for a nap? Too late? Should she be wearing shoes right now? Playing outside more? Should we get a pet? Is it time to have another one even though the thought at this point makes me physically seize up? Is there anybody out there? HELP!!!???

My daughter Olive goes to a cranial osteopath regularly since she was five weeks old (she was born with serious health issues which I will cover at a later date) and now that she’s 14 months and very active it’s almost impossible to try to get her to lie down on her back for more than a few seconds. Scrap that, it IS impossible. 1000% not happening. So I routinely take a bag of books and toys and instruments in a futile attempt to distract her from her undying will to do whatever she wants (god love her).

This time around after the session I was semi-gently told by the osteopath that while it was fine today, I should really limit her to playing with one toy as it’s better for neurodevelopment. Guys. ONE TOY.

Now, make no mistake. I have a huge amount of respect for this guy and I am convinced he has been a key part of Olive’s miraculous turn around (again, more on that later) but in this moment I wanted to throw that one all-providing toy at his all-providing eyebrows. Hard.

On top of all the things we already try to do/not do to best support our girl as she grows, this guy wants me to limit her to playing with ONE TOY and expects that I’ll still be able to do anything ever without her yelling at me in that long, loud, insistent way she’s currently perfecting.

I think it should be mandatory that if you are going to offer unsolicited parenting advice you should have to be primary caregiver for a good few weeks. Of that child. The one you’re giving the advice about. Because frankly babies are as different as people are, and there really is No. Right. Way. Mothers/fathers/caregivers come in all shapes and sizes as do babies, as do ways you want to participate in the world and I think we’d all do a whole lot better if we eased up on the judging of others and ourselves.

So back to the challenge. Here goes. I solemnly swear to do my utmost to divert any/all complaints for 30 days. And while we’re on the subject let’s throw judgements in the mix too. No complaining. No judging. 30 days.

Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it.

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