I knew the title would get your attention.
Here’s the thing. I am a low-maintenance Mommy. This comes as a shock to anyone who knows me and sees my Mommyhood in action because let’s face it, I am not a low-maintenance gal. I read, and I study, and I think, and I write, and I analyze, and then I ask my therapist. I got two masters degrees because after the first one I decided I wanted to learn all about something else, too. But when it comes to being a Mommy, I wing it.
For example, I have never read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” This is largely because I was never “expecting,” traditionally speaking. But even in a broader sense. We weren’t “expecting” a baby. Sure, we were in the adoption process, it’s not like Lily was left on our doorstep in a little basket. But over-thinking and over-researching and over-reading had not served me well during our time of trying to conceive. So I made a very conscious effort to avoid it with adoption. And I guess the habit sort of stuck. We found out we were going to get a baby in ten days. So we got some diapers and some formula. And once we got her, we held her and kissed her and fed her and changed her. I distinctly remember the conversation Ryan and I had at the end of our first full day. He was holding her. And they both looked so comfortable.
“Isn’t it weird that we just sorta know what to do?” I asked him
“Yep,” he said.
And it’s been that way with most things ever since. Sure, I ask her doctor things at her check-ups. And I have a copy of “What to Expect in the First Year,” somewhere, but I referenced it very rarely, and we’ve now been out of the first year for ten months. I guess it didn’t occur to me to buy the next volume. And yes, I ask facebook friends for parenting tips. And I take the ones that make sense and don’t sweat the rest. I don't get worked up about germs. Or colds. Or little tiny bonks. Or how she's doing compared to other kids. Lily ate baby food pretty early, even though "some experts" say to wait. And she ate solid food early. She stopped formula at ten months and switched to whole milk. (I asked her doctor if she was ready. “Do you think she’s ready?” I told him I did. “You’re the Mommy. You know better than me.” This is why we still travel to Queens to keep seeing this doctor…) She had peanut butter at a year old, even though "some experts" say this should wait, too. And now, she’ll now eat pretty much anything. And she’s a great sleeper. And when we thought it might be time to potty train, we took her diapers off and bought a potty. Only time will tell whether that actually works, and who knows whether she’ll be a good sleeper and eater as an adult. Maybe she’ll grow up to be rotten. But that would surprise me. Because she’s happy. And loving. And she’s just… easy. You know. Relatively speaking.
Have you ever been in a car with someone who’s trying to use their GPS? It’s a great device and all. But I’m talking about the people who are so busy using their GPS that they actually get lost. They ignore all sense of direction and blindly follow a signal from a satellite. It makes me want to scream.
Now, I know that I’m lucky. Maybe God gave us such an easy kid because we had such a hard time getting her. Maybe she’s all He thinks we can handle.
And I read books. And hello- I’m writing one. And I write a blog. And obviously I hope I have readers for both. I sometimes have the desire to double-check. To get an expert opinion. To see what others have experienced and compare my own experiences with theirs. But people have been parents since long before the internet. Long before books even. They just knew what to do. And sailors got around just fine using stars.
No one asked for my advice. Not really. But Lily’s awesome, and I am unexpectedly low-maintenance. So if you ever did ask me? Here’s what I’d say. Don’t get so caught-up trying to follow your GPS that you forget to follow your nose.