Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This morning's delightful conversation at Parco began so naturally with this nice woman clad in a super cool knit hat that I can't remember how we started talking. We just did, and we talked and talked on a variety of subjects, among them parenting and how, really, no one knows just what to do.

"I told a friend who was clueless after she had a baby not to get sidetracked by all the information out there, by all the books and advice, to just go ahead and do what she was going to do," she said.

I nodded excitedly in agreement. "Exactly!" I said, for the millionth time paraphrasing my first pediatrician's advice that "You're going to do things your way and that's going to be the best way, the only way."

I gave her a gold star for her great advice to her friend, which I can imagine had somewhat consoled her as my pediatricians' had consoled me. As a longtime journalist, I am always talking to a million people in the hopes of finding consensus. But, often, with so many things, with most things, there is no consensus. There are just different ways, different notions, different paths, and everyone has to find theirs. That said, it is nice to find a kindred spirit, someone who, like this nice knitted-hat lady, had somehow come to the same conclusions over time.

Later in the day, working on a freelance piece about parenting, I spoke to a child psychiatrist whose take on the subject at hand--talking to your kids about sex -- turned out to be the same as mine, without my even twisting her arm!

"I agree with your observations..." she said first off, after I had thrown a few theories at her, the theories that had given me the idea for the article.

I always love hearing that, especially from an expert. I told her so. She laughed.

"Nothing helps you not feel crazy like talking to a psychiatrist!" she said. But, here, I didn't necessarily agree.

"Not all psychiatrists are the same..." I said. "Finding one that's like minded is sort of tough, it's hard to know, harder even than finding a boyfriend." Boyfriends, though it might be rare, can sometimes tell you what they really think, while psychiatrists, ones you pay for your own therapy rather than interview for an article, may not be quite so bold. You sit there guessing what they think, where they might be coming from and why, what kinds of personal events have helped shape those thoughts, something I can't stand not knowing in any relationship, let alone one I pay for.

I really, really liked this lady, though, I thought her insights were dead-on, not the least because they mirrored my own nearly exactly. I sent her a gold star, digitally, via e-mail. Not exactly the same, but still. The experience had buoyed me. Writing a reported piece is far different than writing a blog. Even though I quote others on my blog, it is very obviously my own opinion that shines through in my choice of what to use. The same is true for a reported piece but there is more pressure somehow, more onus not to be terribly wrong. The moment of finding that corroboration from an expert that you've been looking for, hoping for, is great. It makes you feel like your instincts are, possibly, potentially, some-of-the-time on the right track. It is important to trust yourself, important also to find that, as you spread your thoughts, you might actually be on to something.

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