I’m a pediatrician and 90% of my job feels like reassuring parents they are doing a good job and that whatever their kid is going through is NOT their fault. You eating peanut butter during pregnancy did not cause your kid to have a peanut allergy. You NOT eating peanut butter during pregnancy did not cause your kid to have a peanut allergy. Your kid falling and needing stitches is not your fault. Your kid having constipation is not your fault. Your kid not being potty trained yet is not your fault. Your kid having a meltdown is not your fault.
And then there’s the 5% of my time with parents reassuring them that they are not a “hot mess”. Or at least they are not alone in being a hot mess. No, I did not notice your nail polish chipping off, I was trying to figure out how to get your kid to the specialist sooner. No, I did not notice the holes in your kids’ pants, I was trying to make sure I double and triple check the dosage of their medication. Yes, I noticed your kids’ bruises in all the normal places and am rather glad they are active an developing great motor skills! No, I did not realize you had rushed into the office without doing your hair, have you seen mine?
I cheer you on. I jokingly tell you how I lock myself in the bathroom all the time for a few minutes of peace only to be interrupted by tiny fingers and toes poking under the door. “Mommy, can you see my hands? Can you see my feet?” We all laugh.
Here’s what I leave unsaid. There was that time I dropped a pizza on the floor. It was an amazing home made toppings pizza with ham and peppers. I tilted the plate to show my kids and the whole thing cam tumbling SPLAT. There was the time I let my baby cry for an hour because I desperately needed a nap after not sleeping for more than 24 hours – sometimes that story does come out. There was that time I didn’t wash my hair for 7 days and strolled into the office everyday hoping the dry shampoo would keep working – that was pre-COVID. There was that time my kids got onto virtual school late because I made them go outside to play and I got distracted by a Webex meeting.
That is why this blog is originally named Betamomma. Beta. Nearly complete, but not quite. Not alpha, not superior. Unpredictable. I don’t have a sparkling home. I don’t even have cleaners. My kids whine, they fight. They try different gratitude activities, they do chores together, and then they fight again. I am tired, and I sleep without putting away the laundry – for the 3rd night in a row. We try. We fail. We try. We make progress and have some wins in the things that matter most. We let the rest go.
I don’t have enough time in the office for me to tell you my mess, but believe me, I’m in it, too. I hope you can give yourself grace, because you are doing an awesome job and you advocate well for your kids. I hope you can find joy and laughter in the daily imperfections of parenting. And that’s what makes it so beautiful, so perfect.