When I was pregnant with my first child, my cousin (already a parent) told me, “don’t worry, it all comes naturally.”
And my response was, “Oh, I’m not worried. I have a degree in Human Development. I’m prepared.”
Ah, ha, ha.
Ah ha, ha, ha.
Oh, that’s funny. I’m sure she laughed. If you’re a parent, you’re laughing.
My academic emphasis was childhood and adolescence…and criminal justice. I went on to get a Masters in elementary education. I’ve followed that up with parenting classes, like Love and Logic. And still, there are days where I don’t know shit.
Days when, despite utilizing every teen esteem strategy known to man, my child still comes home upset about body shape.
Days when one or both of my children has successfully navigated all of my effective discipline strategies.
“You can play with your iPad as soon as you finish your chores.”
“I don’t want to play with my iPad.”
“You can play outside as soon you finish your chores.”
“I don’t want to play outside.”
“Well, as soon as you figure out what you want to be doing, you’ll be able to do that as soon as you finish your chores!”
Days when I’m neck deep in a power struggle with my kid before I even realize it. And I’ve completely skipped my A game in favor of my parenting B, or even, C game… dreaming of the far more effective parenting strategies my parents used.
Like, banishment to the car. And chanclas. And the very real threat of having my mother pull down my pants in public to spank my butt in front of everyone.
Days when I forget my commitment not to raise my voice until I’m three sentences in to my own foot stomping, yelling tantrum about my child’s tantrum.
Days when I say the thing I swore I’d never say, “Wait until your father hears of this!”
Parent failure days are my shame. Because I’m educated to be a parenting pro, and yet, many days, I’m so not.
I think I’d feel ever so much better if Gloria Steinem contacted me to tell me that she secretly only likes doing “pink” chores.
Until then, I release the shame and forgive myself.
Anything you need off your soul?