By Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter
At my daughter’s baby shower I encouraged guests to bring along their best parenting advice. With twins on the way, I figured she could use all the helpful suggestions she could get. Sure, there are thousands of books on the subject, all offering conflicting, yet expert, advice.
And don’t we all know that advice will go in and out of style as quickly as most trends — bell-bottoms and Dr. Spock to skinny jeans and “time out,” and back again. I wanted our guests to share real, tried-and-true guidelines for raising two brand-new human beings.
Here’s a list of my favorite parenting advice:
- Save Valium.
- Rope and nails come in handy for bad days. You can nail your kids up on the wall by their clothes and let yourself out the window to run away, leaving them for your husband to take care of. (In other words — just hang on. Everything else will wait.)
- Duct-taping children to a tree is not a good idea.
- Drink wine.
Other suggestions were to get enough sleep, use disposable everything while traveling, and to give love liberally and discipline as needed. A frequently repeated sentiment was savoring each day, as time passes as swiftly as gas.
With Valentine’s Day swiftly approaching, I did a quick Google search and, sure enough, there is a metric ton of advice out there on how to stay in love. Then I got to wondering, what if I solicited tried-and-true advice from my friends regarding how two grown beings can stay happily in love?
Here are the (publishable) results:
- Get good at apologizing.
- Get good at accepting an apology.
- Get a shop a good distance from the house.
- Don’t forget date night, anniversaries and birthdays. If you do, repeat step one and two and add chocolate.
- Don’t be a turd.
- If you don’t already have a sense of humor, cultivate one — quick!
- Don’t go to bed mad.
- Fight naked.
- Drink wine.
- (Editor’s note: Can I add one, Jacki? A healthy dose of appreciation. Would you want to put up with you? Of course not. Then do unto others the tongue- holding, patience-having, you-look-great-in-that lie telling that is done unto you.)
Several items on the lists are interchangeable, like getting enough sleep and using disposable everything while traveling, and all is sage wisdom, for sure. But sometimes, even the best advice falls short.
No matter how we try, love can wear thin. It gets tired and bored and worn out from the daily grind. Then it loses its shiny and isn’t so attractive. It stops being as patient or kind as in the poems. It becomes jealous, or crabby and angry. It keeps a record of wrongs and doesn’t rejoice in the good. Love digresses from sunshine and puppies to pouring rain and mopping up dog doo, or baby poo, or whatever the case may be.
In the end — hopefully, before the end — remember that love is a choice. Once all the hormones and pheromones and whatnot have worn off, it’s that simple. It’s a choice we make every day with and for those around us — our kids, our friends and our partners.
Want to keep love? Then choose love. Before you know it, the sun comes out again and there are metaphorical puppies and a miraculous lack of doggie doo everywhere you look.
So go on and love on someone. Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.
Peace (and love) out.
Jacki Michels loves and loves in Soldotna. She and her husband, Ken, are the proud parents and grandparents of many, and have recently welcomed 10 new puppies to their tribe. Talk about needing parenting advice!
Redoubt Reporter editor Jenny Neyman apparently can’t help butting in.