Whatever armor we need to wear day to day to muddle through, it’s truly liberating to have a space like this one to peel it off, lower our shoulders, and confess, I’m not perfect.
When you think about it, there’s no other career in which we can admit we’re struggling all the time and not lose our jobs. (Bonus!)
Reading through all the comments on my last post more than a few times, I am absolutely moved. First, by the gracious support and votes of confidence from you all (you guyyyyyyys). But more so, that so many of you feel comfortable sharing your own hardships and your weaknesses and your doubt. Especially the fact that you single moms–or as Kristen calls it, Sometimes Single Moms–those of you burdened with the most extreme obligations still manage to find the time to come here, read and participate.
There is no greater compliment to a writer. You honor me with your presence, and I thank you.
Perhaps you feel, as I do, that putting it all out there, at least somewhere, is essential. And that the so-called perfect moms fall eventually, and they fall hard.
Here we can be imperfect parents. Not bad parents, just imperfect ones. Together.
That is inordinately comforting.
It’s something I talked about with Carly Knobloch in her Perfect Moms Finish Last interview series (you can listen to all 20 very interesting interviews for free if you register). I’m a little over the whole “bad parent” thing that’s taking over the media. I don’t want to be a bad mom. I want to be a good mom. Even Her Bad Mother wants to be a good mom, which is why her blog strikes such a chord with her readers.
My challenge: I don’t think that good parenting is a destination, I think that’s a journey.
When I had an opportunity to review the Babble book, Dirt is Good For You: True Stories of Surviving Parenthood, I was disappointed. Boy, I wanted to like it. I thought I would love it. But instead of finding humorous admissions by otherwise good parents of indiscretions (“I bribed them with dessert”) I found, with few exceptions, writers smugly bragging about those indiscretions, waving them at the world like a giant middle finger. (“Yeah, I bribed them with dessert. I’d do it again. And fuck you too.”) The gist seemed to be that if your kid survives, you’re doing something right, the end.
Well call me a crazy Virgo perfectionist, but I don’t want my kids to merely survive. I want them to thrive. I want to be proud of them, and of how I raised them – even if I can’t be proud of every single choice I make. I want to do my best.
Me saying I don’t know what I’m doing either up there, under the little winking lady, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what I’m doing.
And so I confess my challenges and my I’m-losing-it‘s here because yes, there’s comfort in knowing I’m not alone. But also, because if I name it, I own it. If I say it, I can’t hide from it. And if you forgive me–if we forgive ourselves–we can keep on running up that hill. Even in full armor.