As a single mom of three kids for most of their growing up years, I flew so frequently by the seat of my pants, I should have carried an amateur pilot’s license.
There were many unexpected parenting challenges for this ‘late to the childrearing game’ mom, which had never been covered in the herd of books I read, leading up to early 30s momhood.
How to be in three places at the same time especially when the kids were attending three different schools, each in a different after school activity.
Finessing the polite way to powder one’s nose, when the baby is starving.
How to find a dentist after hours for a seven-year-old who knocked her front tooth out on the new Schwinn bike handlebars, but the only ER in town doesn’t “handle tooth issues.”
There was having the lights turned off when the light bill was credited to the ex-husband’s account and there was “nothing to be done until Monday,” according to the ‘Nurse Rachet’ of the city utility department, and it was son’s graduation night. You get it.
I had spent my entire life reading books and planning to be a writer, not a parent.
Once the decision was made to parent, I was sure I could solve it all using my accursed, incurable optimism and reading every parenting book our small-town library had in stock (this was before the invention of the world wide web). That type of narrow thinking is what any logical bookworm, childless would-be parent would think: books will solve all.
Wrong. Books affirmed I was doing it incorrectly or could do it better. Books showed organized baby drawers and pictures which matched the bedding and hung straight on the kid’s bedroom wall.
My first born slept in a sock drawer for a few weeks until we could afford a bassinet and second born was a night owl who didn’t fully wake until 6 p.m., when I began to fade.
Books were friends in the small of the night when I didn’t know how to rock my baby completely back to sleep and served as a perfect stepstool for the kids to stand on to brush their tiny teeth.
Books exposed me to the mad amount of creativity in the world. Finally, when I understood that, I also understood flying by the seat of my parental pants because I didn’t know how to do parenting decision making any better than I was doing, was creativity.
Here’s to appreciating the creativity in pants flying and dog-eared books.