the Ginger Menace
Good Job Mom!
There are a number of phrases that The Menace has taken on, that I love. Like during his Peter Pan phase when everything was “mom, it’s a booby trap!” My heart skips a beat every time he randomly says “I love you mom” but I am inclined to be proud of myself when he says “good job mom.” With a full time gig like parenting it is easy to get over tired and down on myself. I know I am doing the best I can, but all the same there is an ever present fear that somehow that is just not enough. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes it feels hard to ask for help…even though I know I am so loved and supported. I haven’t been very forgiving to myself and I need to stop. Now.
Interesting that a fantastic article by Amy Sedgwick of Red Tent Sisters (holistic fertility, sexuality and contraceptive solutions for the eco-conscious woman) came up on my feed to hug my big insecurity. In Why Is Mothering So Hard: Reflections On Ten Years of Parenting I really appreciated her accurate discussion on the tendency of society to be unable to manage “contradictory realities.” Yes, being a parent of any gender is a joyful experience, absolutely, and no I would not give it up for the world. However there are a lot of things that I just did not consider becoming a problem until after I was a parent.
“It Takes a Village” by The Ginger Menace
“Having a baby is listed on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale as one of the top forty most stressful events in a person’s life. Somewhat surprisingly, the list includes many other “positive” events, including vacations and major life achievements,” saye Sedgwick. “Life events that change our routines are a form of stress – whether or not the reason for the change was “positive” or “negative.” The scale includes 12 items that are commonly associated with being a parent but things that are off the scale seem to be even more of a problem.
Parenthood magnifies pre-existing issues because parenting depletes us of the resources we used to deal with these things more privately i.e. struggles in relationships, financial strains and health challenges are amplified. Plus coping methods are suddenly less affective with less time and attention. More than once I have been out doing something just for myself and experienced a sudden tidal wave of panic that I had mislaid my child, only to remind myself that that was completely irrational!
With so many internal and external and sources of criticism the mask of parenthood that we adopt is the assumption of perfection hiding our common fears of inadequacy. As Sedgwick says “if you’ve been reliant on external praise for validation of your worth in the world, motherhood will surely tip you inside out.” It is terrifying to think that you are solely responsible for this young life but even more terrifying to think what a mistake you have made might cost them.
It is my chosen occupation to parent a child. However I really need to quit the part-time job of telling myself I can’t make mistakes, that I have to be on guard for any indication that I am doing it wrong. My child is my life but my life is also my life and therein lies the struggle.
I know that I am doing a good job so why does it feel so hard to commit to the mantra “I am doing a good job.” As with any fear I cannot let it control me because if I do I will not enjoy the phenomenal aspects of raising a child. Therefore I officially forgive myself for trying to achieve an impossible standard, and instead will begin my practice of “I am doing a good job.”
About the Author
Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and a single mom to three-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries terror that now has his own blog. Follow us on PinkPlayMags' new queer parenting blog "The Ginger Menace" (www.pinkplaymags.com). She also has her very own grown up blog for days off called Brave. Creative. Me www.bravecreativeme.com. Illustration by: abwarriner