Sometimes it feels like hubris to write about parenting when my expertise is less than five years old. It wasn’t long ago that I was a child-free adult complaining about toddlers kicking my seat-back on airplanes.
What do I know?
I know how to change a diaper, and that every kid is different (at least my two are). I know that “sleep when they sleep” is a joke, because there are always dishes that need to be rinsed, and run through the dishwasher. I know the companionship of other parents—both those with kids the same age as your kids, and those with older kids—is a real lifesaver.
But I’m not an expert, not by any stretch of the imagination. And not just because my kids are still little. There isn’t a Ph.D. after my name, noting years of study and research into child development. There isn’t an MD after my name, as there would be if I were a pediatrician.
I value that kind of expertise tremendously. Our pediatricians have been a reassuring source of wisdom and knowledge. There are many books, written by experts in child development, that have provided valuable frameworks for me as a parent.
But there’s another kind of parenting expertise. It’s the kind honed by butting up against a problem, again and again, until finally a solution—however temporary, finally appears. It’s the kind shared between parents on playgrounds and at birthday parties and in Facebook groups.
I know that parenting, particularly of young children, is exhausting, and that surviving and thriving depend on your ability to problem-solve, to network, and when all else fails, to persevere.
That’s what I know. How about you? What do you know?