Have you ever met anyone who goes on and on about, say, their child’s sleep problems, potty training challenges, or their babysitter woes? And then all of a sudden the kid’s miraculously sleeping through the night, wearing underwear, and has the best sitter in the entire world, but the mom’s mysteriously tight-lipped and just says casually, “Oh, yeah. It all worked out. I guess we just got lucky!” It’s infuriating, isn’t it?
How about some follow-up, people?! If I’ve listened to you rant and rave for months about getting your kid to nap, the least you can do is let me know what finally worked! Connect the dots for me, PLEASE! I have a theory – several, actually — about why people don’t broadcast it to the world when they solve a particular parenting problem.
1. They have no clue. That’s right, they truly don’t know. They probably read every book and tried every trick and home remedy and random piece of advice from strangers. So when something finally worked, they haven’t the foggiest what it was.
2. They really did get lucky. This is especially true for sitters. We searched high and low and put the word out to everyone we knew when we were looking for a daytime sitter. I had some meetings, some false starts, some dead-ends, then finally, I spoke to the right person at the right time and we found a wonderful sitter who’s reliable, affordable, and convenient. We just got lucky. (And NO, you can’t have her number! Well, maybe. If you’re nice.)
3. They don’t want to jinx it. You know those celebrities on every talk show and in every magazine who proclaim to the world what a fabulous marriage they have? (I’m talking to YOU, Heidi Klum.) Nine times out of 10, those people end up divorced within a couple of years. (Sorry, J.Lo.) It’s the same with moms. I guess we’re afraid that if we brag too much about how our first child potty-trained himself in a day, the next kid will be in Pull-Ups till he grows facial hair.
4. They’re embarrassed. Maybe they get their child to sleep by dancing in their underwear and singing the Barney theme song. (Not that I’ve ever done this.) Maybe they got their child to poop in the potty by promising him he could eat candy for breakfast every day. Maybe their sitter is an ex-stripper who never graduated high school. (Ahem, Charlie Sheen.) Or maybe they’re just ashamed they let their guard down and revealed they’re not the perfect supermom they like to think they are.
So if I’ve ever inadvertently NOT given you closure on any of my parenting challenges, feel free to bring it to my attention. In most cases, what probably worked was time. Not crying at the gym daycare, not spitting up around the clock, sleeping (more or less) through the night, eating a vegetable – with my kids, all of these things happened over time. I know, I know. You were looking for a quick fix, weren’t you? Listen: if I knew all the secrets, I wouldn’t have to wonder how other people do it!