By entering into this whole parenting thing, I’ve chosen to be an ideal parent. There is no option to opt out of it. My every decision is related to being the best parent I can be. Yet, I doubt my ability to be the ideal parent. I feel like a fraud when I write about how to handle tricky parenting situations with calm, patience and compassion. I know that I yelled at my kids this morning, and then wrote a post about valuing everyone’s needs in the afternoon.
I’ve considered packing up shop here when I read others who seem to be struggling with their parenting far less than I do on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis. I’m not someone who should be giving parenting advice or spouting off on how to communicate effectively with my partner.
But, even more than this, I have lingering doubts that I should be parenting at all. When I had PPD, I believed that my children would be better off without me. I have yet to completely shake off this belief.
It haunts me every time I have flash backs or realize that I may have reacted with a millisecond hand-twitch because I’m incapable of coping with my overwhelm in the moment and a child has intruded with a legitimate need. Even on a normal day, if I’m short with someone, I bring up that PPD thought to question torture myself.
I don’t live up to my perfect ideals of a calm, compassionate Yogini. I have judgments arise. I’m erratic instead of placid. I have ADHD and anxiety. I have a lot of tools to deal with these and I’ve got plenty of practice in effective apologies. But, I always fall short.
I’m not the writer I want to be. I have too many unfinished pieces and unformed ideas. I don’t edit closely enough. I write on the fly (like this) more often than I would like to and those researched posts never seem to make it where I want to. And I’m avoiding writing about more things, when I get stuck in navel-gazing issues like I have been lately.
While I’m standing here naked, I’ll share this shadow. I’ve often wondered why I am still alive. I thought that there was some magical age that I would be grown up and get over this obsession I have with the big, deep (pedantic?) questions about existence.
There’s a reason Buddha, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Lewis, Patanjali, Shakespeare, King, and their subsequent musers are dog-eared and rarely leave my bedside table for long. I keep cracking open their brains and poking around for “the” answer.
Surprisingly, I am happy, beneath all this maudlin, and self-indulgent, thinking. When I let myself, I know there is a priori to everything good. All life is fundamentally good.
I see it in the moment my children were born. They were so bright, it almost blinded me. I can see it in anyone at any given time, when they let their persona slip (especially in yoga class or while they’re lost in a moment of fun.) Most of the time we manage to keep it well hidden.
I can’t feel it, but I keep coming back to this idea: If you spend your whole life pretending to be good, then you are indistinguishable from a good person. Relentless hypocrisy becomes truth. Meaning, it doesn’t matter whether you are the parent or the person you desperately want to be. If you make every decision as you believe that person, or parent, would, in the end you were your true, good self. You succeeded, despite your doubts.
Sure takes the weight off, don’t it? I don’t have to be good or whole or perfect or anything inside. I can be a total, unapologetic fake within my heart, as long as I act as if that heart were pure and true. I’ve done the same thing in the end.
And maybe, just maybe, if I direct a little bit of that back inward, I’ll see that I really am all the things I want to be. If I let myself. Occasionally.