Recently I took Spencer for his 1 year old well-check. When the resident walked in the room - oh the joys of a teaching hospital - even my children sighed. We love our pediatrician. Not only does she spend the entire visit tickling my older children, but she never asks me if I'm behaving properly as the experts expect me to do. Cue the resident. Cue the sigh.
This time the resident really wasn't too bad, but he did ask me if I was brushing Spencer's teeth. (Spencer has a grand total of three teeth.) Since I'm really well-behaved, and all, I stared at him blankly. Then I said: "Sometimes I hand him an old toothbrush and he sucks on it." The resident then delivered his brush teeth regularly speech with the addition - as we all know the "experts" are always changing their huge ginormous way too bossy mind - that instead of using kid toothpaste I should use regular toothpaste so Spencer could get his daily flouride.
Needless to say, I pretty much ignored him. Other than to notice that in my past ignoring of the experts I had been doing the right thing. See, with the other kids I was always "strongly encouraged" to give my children flouride drops every day. I didn't. Instead I let them brush their own teeth with whatever toothpaste they could find. Pretty much them brushing their own teeth means that they squeeze toothpaste everywhere, wave their toothbrush around their mouths for maybe three seconds, and then spit everywhere. But see, I knew they were always swallowing some flouride and I figured my inattention to both rules might even out in the end. Now the experts are recommending my lazy method!!! (Okay, not really, but kind of.)
The point of this whole riveting story is that this morning I was brushing my teeth while Spencer sucked on his toothbrush and thinking about all the things I don't do that people say I should do. Generally speaking I don't feel guilty about ignoring the doctor. I've been raised too much an Andersen to feel guilt on this topic, but the other experts in my life sometimes cause me great stress.
I don't dust daily, weekly, or monthly. In fact, I don't dust until it becomes downright embarassing or someone is coming over. I don't vacuum my baseboards every week, or wipe down my refrigerator daily. I was looking at a list of daily jobs that women are recommended to do in order to keep their houses in tip-top shape and I wanted to gag. On this list, which was supposed to be the easy cleaning method, it insisted that ceiling fans only needed to be dusted once a week. I suppose that was supposed to make me feel excited I didn't have to do it every day, but do you know what? I just dusted my ceiling fan after living here three years and having it drop dust bunnies on visitors during one embarassing visit. I can't imagine filling my day up with all that stuff. Because really, WHO CARES????
Of course, the sad thing is that even though I've decided not to do these things I still carry around the guilt that comes from ignoring them, like I'm breaking some hallowed law. And this irritates me, this makes me really mad. Recently I was reading a friend's post about how she'd been stressed over getting her baby to sleep. What bothered me about the post was that my friend had to feel guilt over this thing. Why should she feel guilty for this? Why should she feel that she wasn't doing it right? Why couldn't she just work things out with her baby and herself without "experts" telling her she was doing it wrong? Of course, my friend's post was about this, about how she was going to go with her baby and how her baby slept and not be upset about it anymore, but it made me mad that she ever had to be upset at all. How dare they guilt trip her, you know what I mean?
Which brings me - finally - to my point.... Why do we listen to these experts????? Why, oh why???? And why do we let them make us feel guilty for choosing to live our lives in the way that makes us happy. If I use nap-time to write novels and read books and nap myself instead of dusting my ceiling fan that does not make me a bad housekeeper. And if don't make my children clean the baseboards with toothbrushes I don't really think it means they'll have a bad work ethic when they get older, because I'm pretty sure I expect them to do their homework and clean up after themselves when they're done playing. And if I never watch my children brush their teeth, but make them do it on their own and hope they swallow enough flouride in the meantime, then that is my business, and I will not feel guilty about it!
And just in case you're seriously disturbed by my ineptitude, rest assured that while I was writing this post in my head this morning, Spencer did pour an entire container of Vinegar on the bathroom floor. So, at least it is clean, right? You see, things always work out in the end. Whether I am crazy, or not.