I stayed up thinking about this post for several nights now. Crazy, yes. I have been afraid to write this blog because I want it to be perfect. I want it to capture parenthood, and what it means to me, perfectly. I want to show outsiders what makes us so crazy, so willing to look like we’ve been zapped by static energy, and never have makeup on (touché to those moms who still do it). And then I realize that that is impossible. I’m not perfect.
When I think about my parenting success, there’s a very specific week that comes to mind. We took Taylor (our almost two year old at the time) to Disneyland during the busiest week of the year. We were at the Rainforest Cafe with family, and Taylor had this look in her eye. Like she had just eaten her first maraschino cherry and it wasn’t sitting well with her. She was in her princess Rapunzel dress, we were in public, and she was going to puke.
What do I do? Well, I catch it. I catch the vomit. In my bare hands. All of it.
This is the pinnacle of parenthood. Not because you’re catching vomit. Because I was proud that I caught all of it. I caught all of the vomit. I saved dinner, her dress, and all I had to do was wash my hands. I couldn’t have been prouder of myself. I was the mom. I was power mom, super mom, proactive mom. I have my shit together mom.
But here’s the great caveat of parenthood. Those moments are few and far between. Every day, I battle with my inabilities, my imperfections. Is she watching too much TV? Am I setting a bad example? Am I good enough for this? What can I do better?
I’ll give you an example: I’m cooking dinner, Taylor is watching The Little Mermaid. I’m exhausted from working all day, I’m tired because I didn’t sleep, not to mention personally self-conscious because I think I’m not pretty or smart enough, that I’m not a good mom. And I think back to the list of things that I should be doing better for her that I made during the day. Should we turn off the TV? Should I be going over flash cards with her?
But I don’t. And the cycle begins anew. I’m drained, I’m tired. I’m not experiencing the life that every media outlet tells me I should be. I’m not the perfect mom. I don’t have the perfect body. I don’t do flash cards with Taylor every night of the week.
Parenting is this balance of feeling like you can do anything, and nothing, at the same time. You’re empowered, because when your daughter reaches up to hug you, kiss you, to ask for you, to cry for you, it means you have to be doing something right. But you’re downtrodden, self-conscious, frustrated, and nervous.
I wanted to be the mom that would never tell my child no without explaining why. I’m ashamed because there are moments that Taylor is crying, that’s she’s being a toddler. I get frustrated, I just tell her no. I wish and hope for more patience every time.
I’m not perfect. And these standards, these unachievable standards are coming from somewhere, from external pressures, internal doubts.
There’s two ways to address these pressures of parenthood.
First, to fail. To fail every time, and to be okay with it. To show your little ones that failing isn’t a bad thing, it’s a part of life, it’s who we are, and it empowers and weakens us. And it’s okay.
Second, to fail publicly. Parenting is hard. Harder than I ever thought it would be. And, sometimes, what makes it the hardest is that we are all struggling with the pressures of what everyone else thinks we should be doing instead. I am a firm believer of sharing parenthood as it is, not as we think it should be. This is why I write for Reno Moms Blog – because I want to let other moms who are sinking, swimming, or even performing an Iron Man, that they aren’t alone in their success, joy, frustration, or failure. And suddenly, because of a strong community, we come better parents, friends, and supporters.
So here’s to decreasing judgment, embracing failure, and supporting one another.