The best parenting advice I ever received

This advice comes courtesy of my sister-in-law, Dorit and it is almost universally true. For most all parenting “rules” there are exceptions. So whenever I find myself starting to worry about whatever milestone my baby has not reached or stressing about  the latest tacky habit my 5-year-old picked up at school, I think of what Dorit said. “If you make an issue out of something, it will become an issue.”

My mother tried her darndest to make me afraid of the moody, depressed, bed-wetting teenager my daughter was destined to become one day. This because, at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, although potty-trained, my daughter wore a Pull-Up to bed at night. Had I freaked out and made a huge issue of the situation, I think my now 5-year-old would likely still be in Pull-Ups. (She’s not, although she does like to be swaddled like a newborn every night and still sleeps in a bassinet but that’s another issue altogether.)

AND once again it was Mom who tried to get me in an uproar because my 2-year-old son still drank milk from a bottle two times a day. Did I freak? Well, I started to. And then I remembered what Dorit told me. So I just figured there would be a point when he would lose interest in his precious “ba-ba.” Unless it took him until high school to get to that point, I wasn’t going to stress about it. Wouldn’t you know it, I was at the store the other day to buy some new bottles and I asked my son if he would rather get a few Toy Story sippy-cups instead. The kid made the right choice and hasn’t looked back since! (This story is clearly in direct-opposition to my last post about how much “over-marketing” bothers me…Whatevs, it worked in my favor this time, I’ll roll with it.)

I swear I’m not trying to Mom-bash. (I love you, Mom! I almost totally forgot about the time you sewed my colorguard uniform and made it long enough for a 6-foot-tall drag queen in heels. You know it all worked out fine! And don’t worry- I would never even think of blaming you for allowing me to color my own hair when I was only 10. Hey, what happens in 5th grade stays in 5th grade!)

So, my two children are 5-years-old and under…Clearly I have a great number of parenting challenges to look forward to in both the near and far future. Maybe as my children age this “best advice” will not hold quite so true…I mean, if my teenage daughter walked in the door pregnant courtesy of a 30-year-old heroin addict, I don’t know how I could not make an issue out of it! Maybe as my kids get older I will have to temper this advice with the perennial favorite “don’t sweat the small stuff” or even “when in doubt-kick them out!” Ha, ha, I made that last one up myself.

My Mom is right when she says, “little kids, little problems – big kids, big problems.” It’s almost like the difference between a toothbrush in the washing machine (little problem) and a disposable diaper in the washing machine (big problem). These are just examples of two random items my Whirlpool got to dance with in the past four days. You clearly don’t need to freak about the toothbrush, but a diaper?! You have my permission to go all-out nuts! Never experienced this? Consider yourself lucky. That shit’s a mess!

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