Last week I had a stunning revelation, as it relates to the stress of measuring up and back-to-school routines.
But first…a quick story about cussing as it relates to school and parenting.
In our house, the rule is, if you get caught cussing at school, we will pretend like we have no idea that you use that kind of language ever!
We’ve always said, “if you can use it at home in the right context to express your feelings, that’s fine.
But if you get caught at school using one, we don’t have time to listen to someone yammer on about all that is wrong with swearing in front of our kids.
I know we are supposed to “lead by example” and not act slightly foolish in the face of anxiety.
There’s a certain expectation of maturity once you have children.
Even though we know people make mistakes, for some unknown reason, most parents and especially moms worry that our kids are going to be “that one” in school.
So let’s call it what it is, folks.
What we are afraid of as parents, particularly in this back-to-school time, is being judged.
As our kids are struggling to adapt to learning that new learning the new rules the rules for a new school year.
Many parents are also struggling to adjust to the adulating version of back-to-school routines.
Not feeling like a pushover.
You know, we’re all trying to figure out what is socially acceptable.
For those of us who don’t take themselves seriously, what we’re often terrified of changing our everyday story is realizing what we expect of ourselves and probably more important, what our family expects of us.
Combining your kid’s busy schedule whilst trying to be yourself might send you into total overwhelm.
Afraid of showing their flaws like they don’t have their shit together, talk about stress eating.
But the people who stir this stress stew, are the perfectionist.
It’s the parenting cliques.
These individuals who simply CAN’T bear to be seen with any sort of flaw.
I know you know the ones I’m talking about.
On the surface, they portray this false idea of modern-day perfectionism.
The parents who harshly criticize the parents the bullies the school the parents who are habitually rude or demanding disrespectful.
I bet you can pick them out in the comments section of any school Facebook post.
The cliques. I’m talking about they are the mean moms and mean dads.
They’re just nasty.
But like I said before, as the kids are worried about fitting in and around school we are secretly worried about very similar issues but with their parents.
Every stage of life has some version of popularity contest or backstabbing.
You know the Regina George type groups.
It’s the Pinterest parties conversations.
The working moms versus stay at home moms debate. Heck, working dads versus stay at home dads.
The plastic parents as I call them.
If you’re like me, I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t fit in but I do value being myself.
Yeah, I shouldn’t care what people think BUT I’m human and social situations can get awkward.
ESPECIALLY when someone’s unflawed prince or princess is involved.
Sure, we can pretend it doesn’t happen and try to maintain a group of like-minded friends.
But think about your college days, did it happen then?
Has it ever happened at work?
It occurs in adulthood with or without kids and parenting has their unique categories…too many to list right now!
No matter what age or where you are in life, judgment can bring us all back to feeling like we are walking the high school halls of our freshman year.
I guess I feel like I have to make a choice between feeling confident versus shameful as a mom and a parent because I want to lead by example.
I want my kids to make natural choices.
It’s that old age question of would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?
Our kids, my kids, are watching how I behave in situations.
Learning how to treat other people based on the way they see me interact with school-related issues where their well-being is concerned.
How can we the imperfect parent moms and tribes and dads go about creating choices between what we want and what we need?
And what happens if we don’t choose?
I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown, and here’s what she had to say on being an imperfect parent
“The question of parenting values is about engagement. Are we paying attention?
Thinking through our choices. Are we open to learning and being wrong? You know, curious and willing to ask questions.
It’s our job, as she says, to make choices that are aligned with our values and support other parents who are doing the same.
It’s our job to tend to our own worthiness, not everybody else’s.
When we don’t choose, is it creates different types of anxiety and depression-related issues.
The mounting pressure of not measuring up places us at this crossroad.
So how did I end up making this connection of story and my parental responsibility of back-to-school routines?
At twenty-one, I was the only one who had kids, and I struggled with not fitting in with them because I couldn’t go out.
By twenty-two, I was co-parenting now (yeah, from twenty-two on, my experience hasn’t been positive) aka divorce.
In my early 40s, I feel, in fact, I’m confident that I have lived through different parenting journeys.
It’s like my very own greatest hits album.
I’ve been to this rodeo before. I’ve observed it. I’ve lived it, and I’ve even had a do over.
Honestly, I’ve never been one to take myself seriously and usually find some way to make fun of myself.
I’m in a different stage of life than most of my friends who have kids.
Some days I struggle coming to terms with that life fact.
I know we may be the same age or demographic bracket, but our lives to becoming a parent have been entirely different.
I love my children, but I also have to start learning and actually learning to love myself so I can model what it looks like for them.
Not in some weird braggadocious kind of way (don’t be a poser y’all) but setting realistic expectations surrounding life and the things that will happen to kids as they grow older.
And especially for my 20-year-old. Because life is comin’ for her, and as a parent, you always want to ensure your children are prepared right?
So how can I help other imperfect parents with kids going back-to-school with honest relatability?
By sharing some of my stories through different stages of parenting.
Because most likely someone, somewhere is saying “Heyyy…wait a second? Their story is similar to ours.”
What most imperfect parents and moms face alone?
We’ve got to figure out our own engagement style not copy.
We have to understand our expectations.
We need to find out what our parenting style and expectations are like and we have to be solid in that.
And, as it relates to school really issues, we’ve GOTTTT to figure out for ourselves, what is our school involvement.
It’s okay that you can’t do it all and be it all at the school
It starts with the understanding we’re supposed to do this together as a parenting community.
Like Brené Brown says,
We were never meant to parent alone.
We’re intended to support each other in everyday parenting and the things that go along with it.
We need to work together and share our wisdom share experiences and learn from one another.
We need to stop obsessing over perfection.
Stop stressing about did I do it right?
Does this look right?
As hard as you try you can’t be a superhero.
They are myths for a reason.
That’s why our children look at us like we are superheroes because we leap, save and rescue them all the time.
Our story in real life is their myths of “I don’t know how they do it” because we complete the impossible.
We are our worst enemy.
Getting it all done has a charcoal colored layer of B.S.
You kinda have to be a tad bit selfish to turn your B.S. into a diamond.
As our kids get older, the situations only become more complicated and often involve more people.
How do I know? Because I’ve already been through several rounds of painful situations with my children as well as kids in our community.
Why does striving for perfection often backfire for us, especially right around his back-to-school time?
Because we’re not sleeping well.
That’s it, you simply cannot deal.
We might be drinking a little bit more wine, although I’m not saying it’s a bad thing unless you start binge drinking.
You’re probably stressed out and yelling because you’ve had it you’ve hit your limit.
Your imperfections humanize you and make infectiously relatable.
Understand that you’re not alone in your thoughts about parenting realness.
Start talking your moments of parenting realness so it brings a certain attraction factor to your life.
Your friendship circle will become more enriching, rewarding and fun to be around.
Picking our kinds of friends out of the crowd will be easier when we start worrying less.
Saying no will fall off the tongue much faster in our fear of missing out will lessen.
I’m tired of the duality of this perception my mother placed on me to be seen and not heard.
My grandmother grew up during the depression.
My mother grew up during the Civil Rights Movement.
I’ve grown up through a social change movement, and I have a parent through a digital all access movement
Talk about these quintessentially awkward moments of your story in real life.
Listen to your body.
Most of the time after you’ve worried about a decision you’re right in some way.
Know who your kids are and what is right for them and always stand your ground.
You’ve got to be yourself; otherwise, you’ll be miserable.
When you do, you begin to have a greater respect for honestly relatable stories true story.
A universally spoken language.
A story can sound quite familiar yet telling when hearing them from a different perspective.