Shhh. Don’t tell a soul. I know I look like I’ve got it all together over here: my perfectly plucked eyebrows, my luxurious every-hair-in-it’s-place mane, my nutritious meal rotation. (Stop laughing.) But, I’m fairly certain that 99 percent of the time I’m doing this all wrong.
Big has a meltdown at school: do I
- A.) scold him
- B.) send an email to the teacher explaining the problem in depth with solutions and a reference to his IEP
- C.) talk to his school psych
- D.) all of the above
D. The answer is definitely d. I’m not sure what to do so I do all the things. Probably, I should let him work it out on his own, but that wasn’t on the multiple choice test.
The Wee One is defiant at mealtime: do I:
- A.) ignore the behavior (because that’s what the therapist taught us)
- B.) engage the child because he’s just like me and I can’t seem to resist
- C.) exhibit the patience of Job and sweetly work through the problem
- D.) let his father deal
B. Totally b. He’s me. But with a penis. And a ginormous head. I’m sorry, husband. This must be what it’s like to deal with me once I’ve committed to something even when I’m wrong.
Every time I take my children to the grocery store do I
- A.) regret the decision immediately
- B.) proceed to find everything on my list plus healthy, fun Pinterest worthy snacks
- C.) look like a mad woman saying things like “quit licking the conveyor belt. Why would you lick that?!”
- D.) Both A. And C.
The answer is D for duh. I know this yet I do this to myself all the time.
I sometimes have a vision, a sitcom version of who I want to be as a mom. Maybe like Angela from Who’s the Boss or Elyse from Family Ties. You know, the mom who kind of had it together, never yelling, making the right choice 85 percent of the time and when she didn’t, it could be resolved in 25 minutes. Reality has me more as a Roseanne but with a better looking husband.
Everyday, I make about 432 wrong choices. Some big. Some small. The interwebs would have me believe that I’m supposed to be perfect, but I’m not. I have a secret for you. Neither are you. Neither were your parents or their parents or the parents way back at the beginning of time. We’re all just going around making the best out of our wrong choices and still winding up doing pretty darn good enough.
My kids are pretty happy, but let’s face it the interwebs lie about this too. They make it look like everyone is always on a family photo shoot: laughing and looking perfect, but sometimes it’s stay in your underwear and eat cereal for supper and be happy that no one got kicked out of school this week. And if we keep our kids happy all the time, what does this do? They certainly don’t learn how to cope.
Every night, I think, tomorrow I’ll make only 300 wrong choices instead of 432. Instead, I herby give you permission to be imperfect, to not listen to the lies of Pinterest, family photo shoots and the sitcom in your head. To be good enough.
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Author of “What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD” and “Boy Without Instructions”
Parent of 2e teen with ADHD, autism, and LDs