So, in my effort to start having some goddamn compassion for myself, I'm starting a parenting group. It's called The Worst Parents Club. In real life. Here's the flyer I gave to some people:
Are you the Worst Parent Ever?
Do you sometimes feel like if you hear the sickening crunch of one more Cheerio under your slipper that you might fastpitch your mug of not-enough coffee through the nearest window?
Does hearing Gisele Bunchen say her son “thinks broccoli is, like, a dessert” make you want to tie her up and force feed her doughnuts until her own mother shows up and apologizes for her very existence?
On a bad day, does someone telling you to “enjoy EVERY minute of parenthood” cause you to fantasize about delivering a precision death strike to his or her windpipe?
If so, then this is the club for You!
Forgot everything you learned in other parent support groups. This is going to be The Worst one yet. Because it isn’t designed to help you get any closer to perfect. It doesn’t even need to make you feel better. (Though it probably will.)
No, this group is going to talk about failure, pain, and kids who will eat only Lucky Charms for dinner, delivered by parents dressed in a Pony Express costume. And then we’re going to talk about how that’s okay. (Sure, we might talk about strategies for upgrading said child to merely Golden Grahams, but it will be against the Law of The Worst Parents Club to feel bad about it.)
If we start by showing forgiveness for ourselves, for our complete lack of expertise in this, the most important work of our lives, things can only look up from there, no?
The Worst Parents Club will meet once a month or so (depending on how Bad we’ve been). Our goal will be to start the casual discussion by fessing up (anonymously, if we choose) to our lowest points and then, buttressed by our glass of wine or coffee and the relief of finally being surrounded by parents who are willing to admit just how low they can go, we’ll spend the rest of the time working our way up to the parts we’re actually proud of.
Come prepared with an open heart, a muddled head, and a love for your child that is so enormous you threaten to burst into an exploding asteroid of guilt at any moment. And we’ll make you feel better. In fact, by the time you leave, I promise you will be whistling Dixie in four different languages. Okay, maybe not. But the wine always helps, doesn’t it.
Love yourself, whynot,
I got a lot of responses. If you are a friend of mine living nearby, e-mail me to find out about my plan to sneak up on our guilt and beat it to death with a pillowcase full of soap. (You see there? Without even thinking, I associated guilt with prison. Fascinating.)