Okay, there is actually only one way in which I am a perfect parent. Its when I use the kids' foot as a telephone to place an urgent call to various businesses in Britain, India and Australia in my quest to order 16,000 pounds of tofu for eating. In these calls, I am forced to repeat myself ad nauseum in an effort to convince the party on the receiving end that I am speaking correctly, "Yes, 16,000. That is correct. No, 16,000 pounds- 1200 stone! Hello?! I'm afraid we have in insufficient connection, sir. I said sixteen. thousand." and beg them to believe that it is for eating and that yes, I will eat it all.
After haggling with several restaurants and suppliers, I become increasingly indignant that noone stocks this perfectly reasonable amount of tofu without special order and my accent grows more heavy as my mood devolves into total, desperate disbelief that I am not going to be able to purchase the full amount of tofu from any one vendor.
The kids love that.
Elsewise, I sort of suck. The kids never eat quinoa. They rarely go to bed on time and I am frequently overhead saying, "No matter how many times you ask, I will not say 'yes' followed by me saying 'yes' thereby undermining stability, authority and any reliable boundaries I have only loosely cobbled together.
As you know, I have been on a quest to be a better parent and have made no raising my voice in anger the goal. I did that super flawless for about a month and then I fell off the wagon one night about a week ago. My record of perfection was doused.
After wrestling with a recently lotioned Griffin over brushing his teeth (an event to which we are granted cheerful acquiescence or complete rubber-bone collapse and general two year old assholery). He was screeching and sliding all over and I ended up snapping at him and hoisting him up off the floor with just a tiny bit 'o' yank.
I felt awful! I mean, I didn't hurt him or do anything that most parents don't end up doing to a two year old on a regular basis, but it marked the end of my Fairy Parent 2014 stretch and I was really sad that I got to that point again.
I went to bed in miserable defeat. Julie was incredulous. "You haven't destroyed your record, honey. That's silly. You can't be perfect, you know."
Okay, so that is true. I can't. Too bad, because perfect is just what I was after. (Also, sixteen thousand pound of tofu.)
Now I am settling for Good Enough. Good Enough is my new Perfect.
Even that is hard. The Voice of Perfection is a persistent beast! It is nasty and punitive. I mean, look at this picture of me with the ugly internal Voice of Perfection hovering over:
(That's when my hair was blond. Also I was SO exhausted that night!)
And I don't know who that horse is, but it looks like Alfie Kohn to me.
Anyway. That Voice is going Down. Down, I tell you. Voice of Ariane is in the house now. You know, there is a famous child psychologist named Winnicott, who built a career out of researching the notion of the Good Enough mother. The central thesis is very academic, and hard to understand. It is this: your kids will thrive if you hold them. Have an open lap and they will be happy. Be the place they naturally go for comfort and stop sweating all the Modern Parenting details. The End.
I'm down with that. But I'm still going to try not to yell. Because, I mean, look:
Yelling at these little peanuts is like punching a newborn giraffe. So I'm going to stick to that goal. Wish me luck.