This week’s “Confession Friday” comes from the very talented, wonderful Christina from Beyond the Brochure!
When The Going Gets Tough, I Reach For…
Parenting. Any mom knows it will test even the most secure, steely-nerved of us (not that I have nerves of steel, mind you). As if taking care of the kids on two hours sleep isn’t enough, pressure comes at us from everywhere, fast and furious. Actually, it starts when we’re pregnant. Strangers question what we’re eating, pat our stomach, tell us that we’re getting heavy and ask if we’re expecting twins when we’re not.
Then, once we have the baby, this same stuff happens with more intensity. Are you feeding your child the healthiest food on planet earth? Is he/she doing enough academically? Baby sign language? Cloth diapers? And on and on. Blah, blah, blah. It can be exhausting. I wish I had done a better job of tuning out the competitive chatter when my kids were very young. Now I know it doesn’t matter whether kids can multiply or read chapter books in preschool!
Being a mom is rewarding, awesome and, at times, very stressful. I think I’m overly too sensitive and self-critical. I respect—and secretly envy—those moms who ignore outside, “competitive mommy” pressures. These moms are never in danger of acquiring “perfect mommy syndrome” which is that negative inner voice that tells you that you’re not doing enough as a mom. It requires a healthy does of self-esteem and skepticism to avoid this social pressure. It also requires a willingness to tell someone (or at least think privately), “I don’t want your unsolicited advice!” In extreme cases, “screw you” works too.
In my continuing quest to stay calm during times when it feels like everything is falling apart, I require outside help, the kind that is handed to me by somebody in a white coat, written on a pad with barely legible scribble. Yes, I’m definitely a work in progress. Yet, I’m seeking that priceless moment when I’m completely and calmly in control of each and every parenting challenge that confronts me without needing anything requiring a prescription. What causes me to stress out? Here are a few examples: a call from the school that my son may have a broken arm, the mean girl drama at school last year which left my daughter in tears or the mom who called me on the first day of school to ask me if I was the one who told the school her kid was a bully. My answer that it wasn’t me (and my refusal to say who it was), caused her to scream “Fu*k You” into the phone and hang up. I reached for my Xanax. It worked.
Christina Simon is the co-author of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. She blogs about this topic at Beyond the Brochure. Christina is the mom of two kids, ages 8 and 11. Her work has been published on Salon.com, MomsLA, Mamapedia, BlogHer, The Mother Company, Ecomom, and other sites.