The Comprehensive Guide to Parenthood


There are about a bajillion books out there that claim they will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about parenthood- from conception to contractions and all the way through when they’re old enough to con you out of 5 bucks. Or 20. Or a car. I won’t list them all, because we’d be here all damn day- but they exist!

They do it with humor, sincerity, encouragement, sometimes unintentional judgment. In hundreds of pages and pictures and diagram, they try to prepare you for everything children may bring into your life. It’s exhausting. Not just to read them all, but to try to mentally get “ready” for- dun dun DUN- parenthood. I bought the books, I read them, and at the end, I found myself completely underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time.

I spent weeks waiting for a bloody show I was told would come, and damnit, I didn’t get to see any show! My water didn’t break at Wal-Mart, it had to be broken FOR me at the hospital. There was no remembering to breathe during labor- I was just lucky not to literally tear my vagina in half. I didn’t feel informed, or confident, or secure after cramming all the knowledge these books had to offer into my head. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I spent the first two years of Holden’s life completely paranoid because he wasn’t doing things at the times the books said he “should”. I don’t like that word. It’s an assuming asshole.

I was nervous, and panicky, and laid awake at nights worrying that I was completely fucking him up. Feeling like you have all but none of the answers is a terrifying feeling, especially when it comes to the person whose life depends on you. That’s because all of these books miss one important factor (even if they state it, they still miss it): ALL children are different. In so many ways that no one book can accurately predict them. All of the “shoulds” and the milestone windows and predictions and and advice and GAHHHHHHHHH all of it. It’s too much.

“The Comprehensive Guide to Parenthood” should REALLY just say-

Try your best not to fuck them up too much. When you do (because you will, even if only a little)- don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. That’s why humans have senses of humor!

I WISH I’d read that instead of the age my baby was supposed to start walking that he’d already passed by 3 months. I didn’t get much sleep back then- but I would have, damnit! I blame baby books for my wrinkles and gray hairs. I used to blame my kids, but it just feels better to blame the books.

Posted on January 7, 2015 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment
Holdin' Holden

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