Don’t Bother Reading This, and Don’t Pin It, Either
I read and think a lot about parenting.
I get bi-weekly emails from a psychologist who gives a blog lesson (a blesson) about how to deal with everything from tantrums to sibling rivalry. I have a behaviorist on tap that I call when I just can’t figure out my 6 year old, or when my 1 year old’s sleep is in the shitter. I go on Pinterest and read over those stupid ass inspirational parenting phrases, looking for a gem to keep in my mind. I read parenting blogs where parents humble-brag their asses off (I finally let little Johnny have one ounce of sugar today…tee hee! I’m so awful. YOLO everybody! Yea I know I do this shit, too.) I subscribe to a parenting blog of a lady who posts the beauty pageant style healthy lunches with tips and tricks to get as many veggies in as possible and then asks, “What did you pack in your child’s lunch today?” Probably no veggies, lady.
I read blog post after blog post from mom’s who tell us to relax, because there’s no instruction manual. It’s funny when they mention all the mistakes they make. It’s funny not because it’s kooky, but because it’s a fucking breath of fresh air to see someone being honest.
Do we really need to see any of this shit anymore? Do we need to be reminded of all the times we didn’t pack vegetables, and do we need to be reminded that it’s fucking normal to be in a bad mood sometimes? There are two strong schools of parenting that pretty much everyone I know, including me, subscribes to: I’m Trying To Be A Perfect Parent, and I’m Not Perfect, Hear Me Roar!!
Both schools of thought point to one single thing: A terrible insecurity over how we’re doing. A staggering level of competition that forces us into one mode or the other depending on the day. The Imperfect Roaring Parent will most certainly be trying to cram raw veggies into the lunchbox every day, and the Perfect Veggie Parent will be screaming at their 6 year old the next morning.
I don’t care how much of an Imperfect Hear Me Roar parent you think you are. Some kid will skip by with their parent and they will look like they’ve got it all together, and you will feel like shit. You’ll go back to your Imperfect Roaring soon enough, but you have to work at it. You have to work at feeling comfortable in your own Imperfect skin.
Yesterday my daughter kept me out of the dining room and kitchen for a long time because she was planning a surprise. When it was ready, she led me to the table covered in one of her bedsheets. She had carefully placed a napkin, fork and knife on the table, which was all held down by a white sparkly rock she found in the garden. There was a plate with a freshly picked lemon from our tree. The lemon was surrounded by sliced bananas all around the plate. The meal came with a side of Mary’s crackers and a glass of ice water. It was lovely.
“Wow! What is all this for?” I asked.
“Because you were a perfect mama this week,” she said.
Shit. What did I do? How do I do it again? Chill out, I told myself. And stay off the internet.