There is one sentence I have said more frequently than any other in parenting conversations. Whether we're talking about my kid or somebody else's kid.
It's something I have to remind myself of and be reminded of by friends and family when I find my own child's inconsistency frustrating.
It rings particularly true in those "it's not you, it's me" parenting moments... It's not your inconsistency that's frustrating me, rather my own lack of realistic expectations.
And that's when I have to realize the truth of my own repeated words... Every single day is DIFFERENT. Different from yesterday, different from last week, different from what tomorrow will bring.
I, as an adult, as a supposed "creature of habit," would never attempt to sleep from exactly 10pm to 5am every singe night, without any room for natural variation in my body's schedule.
If I wasn't asleep by 10:30, I wouldn't begin to think that something was wrong with me or my sleeping arrangement. I wouldn't take drastic steps the next night to be sure that the blip in perfect scheduling didn't happen again.
If I normally eat dinner at 6, but felt hungry around 5... I'd probably just eat at 5! Because my body knows what it needs.
This kind of thing sounds so obvious when we put it in a context of our adult bodies. Why, then, are we so mistrustful and controlling over the bodies of our babies? Why are we so thrown off by natural variations in their schedules?
Schedules can be really good tools, don't get me wrong. Rhythm is good. Predictability is good. Stability and consistency are GOOD. But being realistic is... healthy. And having realistic expectations about how much is actually within our ability to control with our infants and toddlers... and how much is even healthy for us to try to control.. would save us all a lot of frustration and worry.
Cause sometimes your kid is going to refuse to take a nap all day... and other times he'll manage to pass out on top of the kitchen counter in the time it takes you to fill the sink with water for a quick bath. Expect each day to be different, and suddenly flexibility becomes a part of the routine.