Some days parenting can just mean surviving

I am no expert on parenting. I wouldn’t say I am even marginally knowledgeable; in fact, I will go further and suggest I don’t have a clue what I’m doing some days.

I am no expert on parenting.

I wouldn’t say I am even marginally knowledgeable; in fact, I will go further and suggest I don’t have a clue what I’m doing some days.

You know the days I’m talking about: the days when you find the milk in the cupboard and the half-eaten bowl of cereal in the refrigerator, which makes you aware amidst the shrieking children and toy-strewn floor, that you’ve lost your mind and it’s only 7:48 in the morning.

Or the days you realize you did all your errands around town with make-up on only one eye and a huge boogie/spit-up/slobber stain on the left shoulder of your cool Beatles T-shirt.

These are the days that never seem to bode well for parenting. Surviving, yes, but parenting, no.

When I say parenting, I am talking about your magnum opus, so to speak, that happens on those rare occasions when you can do no wrong; the planets align and not only have you dressed, fed and then re-dressed your kids, but you have also managed to vacuum, unload the dishwasher, cure cancer, teach your kids to read and write, take out the garbage, initiate peace in Afghanistan … oh yes, and eat, all before 9:00 a.m.

Survival mode is much simpler: eat, play, sleep, repeat.

Personally, I assess my parenting successes of the day with this simple question: How much irreparable damage have I caused today? Was that extra 30 minutes of television detrimental or educational? Did I create an ungrateful, manipulative child when my resolve buckled and I said yes to the candy bar in the checkout line at the grocery store? Was duct-taping the soother today really necessary?

Luckily, children are resilient.

They are also encouraging. Hugs and happy faces, along with the sincere enjoyment of my company reinforces my hold on my parental confidence, however tenuous.

My two children, girl and boy, are only 20 months apart and there are times, please forgive me, when I fondly remember and grieve the past: more fashionable times when my wardrobe didn’t consist entirely of easily washable fabrics or when my husband and I didn’t talk about “sleep methods” or BMs.

I dream of times when the word vacation didn’t mean a road trip to the Calgary Zoo, or times when the word date was romantic — not something you did with other moms and their children.

As I said, I’m no expert. This is why you will find no advice in this column, at least not affirmative advice.

Possibly, a What-Not-To-Do but more than likely a tract where you can immerse yourselves in my frustrations and triumphs and feel a bit better about your day.

Seriously, wouldn’t you just love to tune in to The Mom Show one afternoon and see the hosts with hair askew and their wardrobe stained? To me that would be truly inspirational, like a hero come back from the war, injured but not seriously harmed, whose mere presence says “I survived and you can too.”

Raina Dezall is a Rocky Mountain House mom who believes perfectionism is nice in theory, but highly overrated. You can contact her at mother_load@hotmail.com. Her column will appear every second Sunday in Red Deer Life.