At that moment, I was here, “Wow, can I screw up this parenting thing any more?”
Out of the blue, (well, not entirely out of the blue) I get a text from an old friend who was reflecting back to a thing that happened years ago.
She said, “I’ll never forget,” [that I said], “take a swig of this, Bron…” (Bron = Daughter)
I wasn’t exactly sure what she was referring to, so I texted back, “What was it?”
Old Friend: “You, handing a bottle of Benadryl to her in the back seat. She was just a baby in the UHaul…lol”
Me: “I was such an excellent Mom just plying her with drugs for the long haul trip…”
Old Friend: “It was awesome…I needed that example. I was strung so tight!”
Me: “You are more relaxed now, though. Yay!”
Old Friend: “Yup. No need for perfection anymore. I truly don’t give a shit.”
The moment when you realize how much your words and actions impact others.
My friend and I’s exchange brought me here. In the months leading up to the panic of the birth of my daughter, I repeatedly asked myself – what kind of parent will I choose to be? My response was the same as it was since I was about 18.
Paige’s 7 Parenting Tenants
1.There is no value in hiding things/life/dumb stuff/bad stuff from the children.
2. Don’t throw up a wall between parent and child. “I am the parent and thou shalt obey me” is steep bullshit. It doesn’t work. Create mutual admiration, respect and trust.
3. Things don’t have be perfect.
4. Attempt to stop worrying. It will turn out OK.
5. Be vigilant and also be chill.
6. Introduce the world religions. Let them choose or not.
7. Do your best not to fuck up your kid. Forgive yourself right now because it’s full out trial and error time.
Sounds about right. 7 is an auspicious number.
20 years later, my daughter is flying to Japan.
I was worrying myself into a puddle about the decision to send my daughter by herself to study for 5 months to Japan. The thoughts were rampant. Have I done the right thing? Is she going to be OK? Will she flourish? Am I going to have to go get her? Is she eating? Does she have enough money? I was completely overwrought.
At the perfect moment, when I needed it the absolute most, my friend reminded me of my own parenting rule. Insert parenting tenant number 4 here; “Attempt to stop worrying. It will turn out OK.”
Here, take a swig of this, Paige.
And it did turn out fine and my daughter is fine and I am fine. She trusted me and I trusted her.
AND there is nothing more precious than a genuine friend.