I ran into a friend at the market, shopping for baby’s first solid food and it was lovely to see him talking about planning to feed all organic food from his garden—and it was also humanizing and understandable to hear lofty ideals giving way, in the context of sheer exhaustion, to the pragmatics of store-bought (albeit organic) baby-food.
We joked about our grand initial plans for all natural diapers and how we (me a decade and a half ago) threw in the towel on the diaper service a few weeks into our colic-riddled child’s ever-leaking, high-maintenance cloth diapers, while my friend had, a few scant months earlier, started with all natural diapers, but they were so stiff and like sandpaper, he said, that he too caved in for big-brand, eco-crappy survival.
It’s not that my hat isn’t off to those who succeed; I have just found that in the trenches we turn to survival mode and carry our guilt along with our growing children, out of the car-seat, up the stairs, yearning for nothing more than a good night’s sleep.
Saving the planet is important, but those of us whose kids are now emerging from the ultra high-maintenance days, maybe we can band together—not just to do a little more to save the planet, but to save the young parents who are too tired to save the planet.
A good and healthy life is about balance. Modern life can seem toxic and alienating, but it also allows us to tap away on computers and connect easily and inexpensively with people all over our planet—in other words we must take the good with the not so good. Being mindful is excellent, but we also must be careful not to lapse into shaming or strident superiority—judging others about how they should live their lives when we really have little understanding of those lives and what might be going on within them. Sometimes I think that if we could all just be happier what whatever it is that we do have, and trust that our lives are good enough as they stand, a lot of other problems might take better care of themselves—within our selves, our families and in the collective.
Let’s dedicate today to all the exhausted new parents, particularly if our own kids are now sleeping through the night—sending love and good wishes from a place and perspective where our new and different developmental struggles at least allow us the luxury of a few hours uninterrupted sleep.