A few months ago, I stumbled across what has become one of my favorite parenting memes on Pinterest.
I was all the more excited about this JPG find because I often joke that my life resembles a comic strip whose main character has two left feet. The many spills, falls, and awkward life moments over the years have taught me not to take myself so seriously. After all, to quote the great philosopher Jimmy Buffett, If we couldn’t all laugh, we just might go insane.Last week, my six-year-old daughter played hookie from summer camp. On the agenda? A mommy-daughter lunch date and a dentist appointment.
After working from home that morning, like usual, I was running late. Especially after I stepped in a huge pile of puppy poo when trying to leave the house. *sigh* Lunch at a local Mexican restaurant would have to be swapped for Wendy’s. (FYI, we live in the country. Our dining options “heading into town” are pretty limited!). After having already turned around once to retrieve something I’d forgotten, we arrived at Wendy’s only to realize that I’d forgotten my wallet too. Back to the house we go.
My sweet girl was pretty talkative in the back seat trying to understand why we had to go back home and why we didn’t have time for lunch. She was STARVING (with dramatic six-year-old emphasis) as her breakfast consisted only of a small frozen pizza. *deep sigh* Clearly I needed to go grocery shopping too.
We made it home (again) and grabbed my wallet, but now we had to be at the dentist in 15 minutes and our pantry was bare. Solution? An improvised to-go lunch from the convenient store. My lunch? A Twix and a Dt. Dr. Pepper. My daughter’s? Mini M&Ms and Bug Juice. (And a child-like lecture from my kid as to how unhealthy our lunch was, and how the dentist would be disappointed in us for eating candy without brushing our teeth).
As it’s often said, “There is no one way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a good one.” And, standing on the coattails of grace and the knowledge that kids are pretty resilient and forgiving, I try to approach parenting much like I do everything else in my life: with a sense of humor. Clearly, last Wednesday was not my day. But, my daughter and I made it safely to the dentist, and three hours later than promised, we finally made it to the Mexican restaurant where we had an overdue lunch. And some giggles. And some fun taking pictures and texting them to her daddy to rub it in a bit that we were having a fun girl’s day out.
Thought for today: Many of us are super busy juggling a million and one responsibilities. Whether you’re a SAHM or one who punches the clock, we’re all exhausted from walking our thin parenting tightrope (pleading desperately to make it from sun-up to sun-down, day in and day out without stumbling too badly). The more I work with families, the more I’m realizing how (typically) we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. When it’s all said and done, my kiddo won’t remember my mommy fails, but rather a mommy who tried her best, loved her wholeheartedly, and laughed in spite of it all. My challenge for you today is to wipe the figurative puppy poo off of your shoe too. Take a deep breath, and give yourself a little credit for being a good parent.
Practicing What I Preach: Using Narrative Parenting, I indulged my daughter’s conversation on the way back home and then to the dentist, and we laughed about how it just wasn’t mommy’s day. I apologized for forgetting my wallet and for feeding her “junk” food all day, explaining that mommy was doing her best given the circumstances. I affirmed her “lecture” about healthy eating and good dental hygiene (apparently mommy had taught her something after all! Mommy win!), and together we brainstormed a healthier grocery list that included more than frozen pizza and candy. We ended up having a great afternoon, and had a pretty funny story to tell everyone that evening…