“10 Ways You’re Screwing Up Your Kid.”
“5 Things You Can do to Make Your Marriage Better.”
“3 Reasons Your Friends are Better Lovers than You.”
“The Biggest Reason You Suck.”
Are you familiar with these? If not, be thankful. The first few were cute. My husband and I laughed and nodded enthusiastically as we read “8 Reasons Your Wife Hates You” or “13 Ways to Improve Your Husband.” They were funny lists.
Y’all know I love lists. I fill this space with pointless lists on a regular basis. The lists I’m talking about now are different.
Your friends post them on Facebook. Occasionally, someone will email or text one to you. The titles are catchy, so you click the link. You skim through the list, thinking, “Yes! I get this. I should work on that. I’ll share this!”
Stop it. Please. Reading these lists will make anyone question the choices they’ve made. They spark discussions among the masses (read: bored people). Fiery debates about breastfeeding, how soon parents should be away from their children (ASAP) and three simple words that could end your marriage or something. People are angry.
How about this? Instead of researching and theorizing and arguing, just live. Try it. If that doesn’t work, try it a different way. How on earth do you think people survived before these blogs and lists existed? Trial and error, that’s how.
Some of you are planners. You like a map. I get it. Suggestions are good.
None of us is perfect. Nope, not even you. That’s a fact. It’s completely acceptable to know that. No list will change that. Reading lists that tell us how imperfect we are only helps us to forget ways we’re not. Here’s your list:
- If you’re a parent, trust your instincts, as eleventy billion parents have already. Will you screw up? Probably. Will the world end if your baby eats steamed squash that wasn’t pureed just like that perfect mommy blogger suggested? Nope. Surprise! Your baby is still alive!
- Call a doctor if necessary.
- Be safe.
- Use common sense.
- Call a cab when needed.
- Spend time with your husband/wife/partner. It doesn’t have to be a fancy date. Many marriages survive on frozen pizza and cheap beer.
- Teach your children well.
- Respect others, no matter what.
- Use “please” and “thank you.”
- Remember that life is short. Try not to worry so much. Worrying is a time waster. It takes you out of the moment.
- You are a person capable of making decisions. You were made that way. Use your mad skills and get it done.
- Give advice only when asked.
- Hug when appropriate (don’t be creepy).
I’m not trying to oversimplify here. I wish I was an expert on even one thing. Unfortunately, I lack training and skills. I rely on guesswork and hunches. So far, so good. I stay away from internet advice and baby books. I’ve never read a marriage handbook. Maybe I should. If something gets really screwed up, I’ll go back and fix it, I guess.
Just know this: you’re awesome. Even if that list says you’re not. Go with it. It’s a new year. Be happy. Work on being healthy. If that means drinking nasty green stuff, do it. If that’s not for you, find your own way. It’s your road. Do the best you can. Love your people, people. They’re all we’ve got. Keep your wits and enjoy your wine. Cheers!