Thriving and optimizing, or just surviving…
I’ve been sitting here at my computer tonight reading parenting articles. There is a lot of wisdom out there. It’s impressive.
I was struck by something. We parents seem to fall into one of two categories.
We are either thriving and optimizing…
or, we are just surviving.
The thriving and optimizing folks have parenting down, clearly. They’ve moved beyond the basics. Discipline Schmishipline. These folks have their shit figured out!
No one doubts who’s in charge in these households. Parent snaps fingers, kids get in line. They’ve got systems, and rules, and they WORK, goddamn it!
And they’re moving on to the next level – helping their kid grow into their best version of themselves. Optimizing.
Meanwhile, those of us over here in Camp Surviving are clinging to the cliffside of sanity by our fingernails (and if you think that sounds like it might be uncomfortable, you are 100% correct – it is).
And no, Thriving Masters of Parenting, I don’t have a free hand to join you in toasting to the awesomeness of parenthood. Not today, at any rate.
Perhaps one day I will join you on your side of the chasm, and I’ll be able to wave over to to all the poor souls clinging to the frayed edge of their sanity, remembering days of old with a shudder and thanking God, the Devil, and all the saints that I am over on this side now.
Maybe that will happen. Probably not.
Yes, I envy those Optimizers.
Yes, I feel a smidge of resentment (at least I can recognize it for what it is).
But, Members of Camp Surviving, (yes, I’m going to make a short speech)…
I know, things are messier over here. There’s a fairly heavy dusting of shame that no amount of Pledge is going to wipe away. And, ok, there may be a general griminess from all the blood, and sweat, and tears that is leaking out of us all. And those boxes of perceived failure and defeat stacked up in the corner are too heavy for anyone to move.
But, there is gritty wisdom on this side. And strength. There is a LOT of strength.
And if it ever came right down to it, and I needed to pick an army to head into battle with, I’m picking this team. Because you know what struggle looks like, and you know how to endure.
And even when the day has kicked the ever-loving shit out of you, somehow, you get up the next day and do it again. (Those other guys would be in bed for a week!)
And there’s better camaraderie over here. Because we’re not even thinking about competing with each other. We gave that shit up years ago – fucking child’s play.
We throw occasional words of encouragement to each other – and we mean them. Really.
“Don’t let go, Sally. I swear, it’s going to get better… well, I don’t know if it will get better, but it will change. These struggles will end. There will be different struggles… but you can DO IT, Sally. Go Sally!!!”
Our stories might be less well known, because they are not the stories that get celebrated or shouted from rooftops. So, sometimes we forget that we are not alone.
And it’s ok if sometimes the laundry doesn’t get done… for a while, or you have pizza for dinner for 5 nights in a row, because that’s just all you can manage right now (and that’s all anyone is going to eat anyway for Christ’s sake)!
We have already learned lessons that Thrivers and Optimizers sometimes never learn in an entire lifetime…
- That our children are their own people, with their own unique needs.
- And the well-travelled path sometimes doesn’t get you where you need to go.
- And just as the failures of our children do not belong to us, neither do their successes.
- And it doesn’t really matter if that’s what everyone does – if it doesn’t work, we stop fucking doing it! (Cause that’s just plain smart.)
You got this.
You’re my kind of people, Camp Surviving!