If you are a parent and you think you know what you are doing, think again.
I mean, look, my parents thought I was just an adorable and outgoing little girl. They didn’t know they were raising a future “barn burner,” big-mouth, seducer of all, and trouble-maker.
They just thought wrong.
They thought they knew what they were doing.
Newsflash: none of us do.
They probably figured that they were clueless about me upon finding out that I was asking total strangers to buy me food while at the mall.
And shoving phones and crotchless panties into my boots to shoplift.
Tisk, tisk. It was a short phase in my life, okay?
The crotchless panties are totally cool. The ones I stole were Santa ones…and my mom sewed them up the front. Man, what I wouldn’t do for a new pair…pretty sure the pair I had at 15 are long gone.
Anywhoo, I digress. The point of all this is to say, I have no clue what I am doing as a parent.
Sure, I think I know what I am doing, but f*#k. I don’t know what I am doing.
Today, my daughter basically ignored me as I asked her to put on her hat and coat so we could get her to school, so I could work.
While I asked and got “firm” and made my threats after asking nicely, she just went about doing whatever the hell she felt like, because she is my child, and therefore I am screwed.
Finally, I got her into the car, only for her to finally realize that I meant it:
We wouldn’t be going to Starbucks to get her favorite cookies because she had been a bad listener.
I had told her if she got ready on time, we could go, but now alas, she finally decided, “Oh shit, mommy means this. No cookies.”
And so the ride to school was full of tears and sad faces.
Part of me thought, Laura, you’re doing the right thing. Stick to your guns.
The other part said, She doesn’t want to leave home to go to school because she misses you…and has been tough with you since you started dropping her off one day a week. It’s a cookie for fuck’s sake.
And I know…kids are spoiled these days, yadda, yadda, yadda. And you do have to be tough mommy. In fact, I am bad cop in my house, but I find myself being bad cop sometimes when I should be good, and vice versa.
Ask me how to seduce a man or woman, and hurrah!– I have the answer.
Ask me what’s the best bra to wear, or a great book from the 19th century, or which song was the B-side on Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” 45.
Ask me if masturbation will make you go blind. How to conjugate the French verb for to do. Ask me how to do ballet positions. The lyrics to “Give my regards to Broadway,” or “Me So Horny.”
Ask me how to raise a kid?
Eh Fuck off. I said it.
Who knows what’s right? I can tell you buying my daughter the cookie was probably wrong. I can tell you I did it because I lost my patience with her and felt guilty.
I can tell you she was polite when she got the cookie, and charmed everyone in the place.
I can tell you breast feeding worked for me, and that co-sleeping here and there didn’t make my kid “needy.” And that she survived disposable diapers.
But hell, whether or not in the end I will have done a good job, who knows?
Maybe she’ll sit in a therapist’s office and say, “Hey Shrink: my mom wrote a memoir, and in it she had this terrible foursome at age 14. She’s pretty fucked up.” Maybe she’ll say I was too doting. Too strict. A nut job. Too flirtatious with people.
Maybe she’ll say I was too blonde.
All I know is I am trying my best. Parenting is a “learn as you go” job. Your resume means shit, your clocked hours help you make choices, but you won’t know if it’s right until your kids are grown and hopefully, like you.
So never tell a parent what the right thing to do. You only know what you think is right.
Let’s speak to our kids’ therapists when they are older.
We’ll see who has fewer emotional scars.
Was it the organic fed kids? Or the ones whose parents said,”Here, have an oreo.”
Good luck my fellow parents.
And remember there is no winner: we just survive, and hopefully, the kids do too.
With cookies, tea, and crotchless panties,