There's a new Theory of Parenting circulating around the internet. Coined by David Vienna, of The Daddy Complex, the CTFD method promises to simplify your life and still result in happy, successful, well-rounded children. CTFD, of course, stands for Calm the F* Down, and is directed not at your children, but right at you, Mom and Dad.
Here's why I like this method:
Regardless of whether or not you stress over it, your child will, most likely, figure out how to ambulate, communicate, eat something, sleep at some point, use the potty, make a friend, function within a society, and secure gainful employment as an adult. And, more likely than not, love you, his or her devoted and supportive parent. So just enjoy it, right? Just calm down and enjoy it.
Here's why I don't:
I can't Calm Down. I am, by nature, a Worrier. And, more importantly, I am, by biological reproduction, a Mom. I am jealous of the Dads out there who can CTFD. (And the Moms who can, if there are any....I'd like to meet you and let you buy me a glass of wine, by the way....Yes, you read that correctly: clearly, I'm the one more in need of that vino than you, oh Stress-Free Wonder, you.)
I think it's because I read this article a mere days after reading one (and I really wish I remember where I read it...) written by a Stay-at-Home Dad who admits that he can do no wrong. When he's at a "Mommy and Me" music class with his daughters at 10am on a Tuesday, he's Super Dad. When he's grocery shopping with a cranky toddler and a fussy baby, he's Super Dad (and a great husband). When he's at work, he's providing for his family, therefore, Super Man/Dad/Husband/Provider/etc. When his wife is with the kids? She's just being a Mom. When she's at work....she's neglecting her family. He can't lose, she can't win.
I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom. I don't have the added burden of having to juggle my family and my career. But still....sometimes I feel like I can't win. No, that's not true....I honestly feel like I win every day. It sounds hokey to say it, but there are successes each day to be celebrated...some bigger than others....some days I need to look reeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllllyy hard to find that something...but it's always there.
But my days are not without stress.
Being the primary caregiver for three young children is stressful.
That's not to say that I don't fully support and appreciate the CTFD method. I think, in my life, it applies less to me as a "parent" and more to me as a "mommy." As in, I'll never calm down about my role as a parent to these three wonderful little beasts. I CAN, though, calm down about what the hell other mommies are doing all day with their wonderful little beasts.
I can stop comparing myself against other mommies.
I can stop judging other moms for the choices they make that work for their family.
I can stop competing (in my mind) with the moms I emulate. Learn from them, yes. Compete? No.
I can stop keeping up with the Pinterest goddesses. Just, like, cold turkey stop. My kids won't even know what they're missing.
My kids are happy. My kids are healthy. My kids are thriving. So tonight, I will Calm the F* Down.
I think I need to bookmark The Daddy Complex and re-read this post often. "Calming Down" isn't typically in my repertoire. It needs to be. Starting now.
But wait! The first grade school supply list came out today. OHMYGOD. I'm not ready! We're just now hitting our lower-anxiety, summertime stride! He still refers to his kindergarten teacher as "my teacher," and refuses to discuss the possibility that she'll have new kindergartners when he starts school again. And why did they stop selling the only brand of dairy-free yogurt that Evan will eat at our Whole Foods? Now I have to pick the berry bits out of the Silk Strawberry yogurt and, I tell you what, it is even less glamorous than it sounds. And Max! He's going to be leaving my for THREE mornings a week! What will I do without my stream-of-consciousness chatterbox by my side? And the other day, he said he didn't like pink anymore. He said pink is for girls. I reminded him that colors are for everyone, and he said he still liked pink, but not to wear. Is it because that annoying neighbor kid said that "Tinkerbell" isn't "manly" enough? Can I shield Max from annoying neighbor kids forever? And is Molly really getting enough Mommy Time? I mean, I'm constantly juggling between her and the boys. I don't read to her enough. Shouldn't I be singing her more nursery rhymes? Have I EVER taught her the Itsy Bitsy hand motions? And when, WHEN, am I going to enroll us, any of us, in a Mommy and Me Yoga class? I've been trying to do one with ANY of the kids for SIX YEARS and haven't gotten around to it. So, WHEN?! GLOBAL WARMING. BIO-TERRORISM. HATRED. LIARS, CHEATERS, MEAN GIRLS, MOTHERS WHO ALLOW THEIR TODDLER TO TAKE THE TOY RIGHT OUT OF MY BABY'S HANDS WITHOUT APOLOGY OR CONSEQUENCE.
Okay. I'm good.